Injury prevention, hot topic for winter games platform

Only two people in the north were certified to handle concussions, until now.

Concussions frequent many sports but the number of folks in northern BC who know how to deal with them has been startingly low, until now.

“It doesn’t have to be a concussive blow, any type of hit can result in a traumatic brain injury,” Kim Bennett said, PacificSport manager. “Following the proper protocols ensure athletes can continue playing their sports as healthy as possible.”

The need for volunteer medical training combined with the upcoming 2015 Canada Winter Games, has forged northern BC health groups to create an injury prevention and maintenance platform to spread knowledge on sport injuries.

The Sport First Responder Course is open to any professional looking to gain some experience on identifying and managing sport injuries. It can be accessed online but a class was held in Vanderhoof last month with 10 participants from Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James. Topics included return-to-play (RTP) protocols, injury prevention and injury maintenance to name a few. Prior to this training there were only two people in northern BC with this certification.

“If an athlete is unconscious, do not move them,” Kevin Phillips said, certified athlete therapist who described the five stages to follow once a concussion is confirmed.

“[Each RTP stage] adds a little more cognitive and physical  load so we’re not just throwing them back on the ice. We’re seeing at which stage does their symptoms come back,” Mr. Phillips said  during the training class. “Even if it’s a headache that night, still follow the stages. It may seem silly but once you see the damaging effects of the pro players it’s serious.”

Preventative measures were also discussed including equipment, technique, physical conditioning, appropriate refereeing and the Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool or SCAT 3.

“You don’t want a helmet passed down from an older brother swivelling at all,” Mr. Phillips said.

Keith Gordon, speed skating coach in Fort St James, has trained with many athletes over the years including Alyson Desmarais, a speed skate competitor in the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Although Mr. Gordon has taken international coaching certification training programs, it’s always good to have a reminder, he said.

“Some stuff you can forget to do and we were reminded why it is important to remember it, such as the importance of a good warm up coupled with flexibility stretches after workouts,” Mr. Gordon said.

Lan Ma of Vanderhoof is a teaching assistant at McLeod Elementary who took the class. With a background in coaching gymnastics she thought the program was extremely educational.

“With the winter season here it’s icy out there and kids fall all the time, that is a big concern right now,” Ms. Ma said.

“Kids also sometimes play rough so it’s a very useful workshop for everyday life, [concussions} don’t only happen to athletes.”

 

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