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Concussion protocol stressed for area athletes

LULING — St. Charles Parish Hospital, in collaboration with United Way of St. Charles, recently donated 500 Concussion Free Clipboards to St. Charles Parish Schools.

The clipboards are designed to help educate athletes, parents, athletic trainers and coaches about the rapid increase in youth sports injuries, the necessary steps to help reverse the trend and the need to keep young athletes healthy.

In addition to concussion signs and symptoms, the clipboards feature a four-step action plan and list of emergency numbers for easy reference.
Hospital officials said sports injuries among young athletes are on the rise.

According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high school athletes alone account for an estimated 2 million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year.

Officials said a myth about concussions is the athlete has to be “knocked out.”

In fact, less than 20 percent of individuals who incur a concussion have associated loss of consciousness. Some people suffer a concussion and never realize it because their symptoms may go unnoticed.

Kade Rogers, Coordinator of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness at St. Charles Parish Public Schools, said the relationship between the school district and hospital developed over the years with first responders throughout the parish and United Way of St. Charles is second to none in the country.

“With access to information provided on the clipboards to coaches, it will ensure swift action in an emergency situation,” Rogers said.

“We continue to ensure safety of all students as a priority. This is another example of the commitment we have to creating a safe environment for all.”

Officials stress not all concussions are preventable, but being prepared and following safety guidelines reduce an athlete’s risk.

Athletes, parents and coaches should all be aware of the warning signs of a concussion, follow the rules and safety guidelines for a sport and wear the appropriate gear for the sport you play.

When in doubt, sit out, officials said, adding it’s better to miss one game or practice than a whole season.