HEAD INJURY PROTOCOL FOR PICKLEBALL IN BC

HEAD INJURY PROTOCOL FOR PICKLEBALL IN BC

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This protocol has been developed in response to other sports having become more aware of such injuries Their sports are much more prone to such types of injuries than Pickleball. However, in spite of that,  we should also have a protocol because head injuries are well known to occur on falling either forward or backward when the head hits the ground. Also, many of our indoor and outdoor courts have little space between them and collision can and does occur when one player infringes upon the space of another .

On the positive side for our sport, all injuries or incidents whether serious or not are recorded by our Recreation Centers so it is not difficult to see if this is a concern or not. South Surrey Rec has had many thousands of player /visits  over ten years with data to back up what we say. All other Rec centers in Canada are welcome to share their hard data with us in order to present a credible and valid head trauma Protocol. This discussion will remain on our website for three months and we welcome your input and feedback during that time. Your comments will be  analyzed and taken into consideration in our final proposal presentation. In general, racquet sports are regarded as low risk for people who wish to avoid head trauma, and also for those who are recovering from serious trauma.

1>  One area of discussion that has arisen is that of noise . Loud noises seem to impact those recovering from serious injury – so a quieter play space may be desirable ( softer paddles )

2>  They feel like they are in a fog – may affect reaction time – dizziness ,nausea can occur .

3>  Aversion to light – some Rec venues have older or quite strong lighting ….

4 >  Vision issues –  may affect ability to hit the ball or see it coming. Eyes aren’t helping you stabilize

5>  Arm /leg weakness or numbness

6> Lingering headaches

7> Personality changes

Dr Pierre Freemont, Chair of the Canadian concussion  Collaborative , which takes in the CMA and the CAN Paediatric society says he worries that fear will emanate from the 59 % of  sports that do not have a protocol for concussion. Properly managed , it should not be a problem. This means at least two weeks of rest, no active sport until the symptoms clear up  completely. Also two concussions in a short time period requires medical  monitoring and parental involvement. Dr Freemont says we need to do something about concussions before  fear destroys sport participation in kids ….. They want to play on sports teams, they want to compete against other kids . We want kids to be active instead of gaming or getting fat.  In 2012 ACE ( the American Council on Exercise ) that advises the President on Sports – recommended that the sport of choice during the American recession was Pickleball because it produced a good calorie burn in a short time so people could be back to work by 1:00 pm . If this has become a go – to sport for many people, at school, at lunchtime, after school, after work, on weekends, on holidays ( as we now have 244 locations in BC alone,) then we need to look at this question as well.

Policy recommendations :

1-   That any concussion occurring in any Rec center should be followed by a visit to a family physician and a report requested from the family physician to the Rec center.

2.    That any concussion occurring outdoor near a Rec center be reported to that Rec center and the above put into place.,

3.   That repeat concussion , especially in a short time period be treated as above and a follow up by a specialist be recommended.

4.    That attempts to produce quieter play areas for pickleball be pursued.

5.    That if symptoms mentioned above are observed in anyone who has had a recent concussion,  they be encouraged to stop and seek attention by medical staff.

6.    That going forward we look at designs for courts that allow for more room for sideways mobility so as to minimize collisions with other players on other courts as well from the sidelines.

Finally, this is a first draft only, and your comments are welcome as we move forward to a full protocol for concussions in our play areas.

Chuck Lefaive

Founding Director

Bc Pickleball assoc www.bcpickleball.com


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