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Brain Injury Awareness

March is Brain Injury Awareness month. Here are a few reminders and resources for how to manage concussions as a NICA coach.

Photo by Aaron Puttcamp, Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League

According to Injury Facts, being struck by another person or object is the leading cause of unintentional brain injury for teens and young adults ages 15-24. The American Academy of Pediatrics has indicated that the number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school athletes, but they are also on the rise in younger athletes.

NICA takes concussions very seriously. Concussions can be consequential injuries and always require medical attention. Concussions symptoms can last for months or longer, and they can lead to short- and long-term problems affecting how athletes think, act, feel, and learn.

All coaches need to know how to recognize the signs of a concussion. Some signs include:

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Glassy eyes
  • Disorientation
  • Clumsiness or poor balance
  • Slowed speech
  • Changes in mood, behavior or personality

Any time a student-athlete or a coach sustains a concussion, they must be taken out of play until cleared by a physician in writing.  If a student athlete sustains a concussion during a race or event, the athlete must be taken out of the race immediately and seek medical attention.

The National Safety Council has written an article on concussions in youth sports, and it can be found here: Concussion Care Should Top Every Youth Sports Playbook  There is also a very good article written by Spooner Physical Therapy about how physical therapy can help with concussion recovery: Brain Injury Awareness Month: Concussions and Physical Therapy

This content was authored by NICA's coach education team. NICA’s comprehensive coach education program provides new and existing coaches with the high-quality training and resources they need to be confident, competent, and empowered leaders on their youth mountain bike teams. NICA coaches not only create amazing experiences for student-athletes, they create a foundation for building healthy mountain bike communities. NICA coaches change lives! 

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Special thanks to SHIMANO, a NICA partner.

NICA partners help kids gain access to a thriving and engaged cycling community.

Special thanks to SHIMANO, a NICA partner.

NICA partners help kids gain access to a thriving and engaged cycling community.

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