Concussions in Sport: The Need for Leadership and Science

Over the last several years, the topic of concussions in sport has been highlighted in pop culture and the media at a much higher rate, placing emphasis on the effects of and risks taken when a considerable head injury occurs in a contact sport.

Sports concussions, according to the Washington Post, are blows to the head that jostles the brain and can cause brain swelling, blood vessel damage or worse. And according to the Brain Injury Research Institute, between 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes suffer sports concussions every year, and yet, with an increase in overall concussion in sport awareness, cases are still underreported and undiagnosed at high rates. estimates that as many as 50% of sports concussions are not reported, and with children and teens making up a majority of concussion in sport cases, the risk for future injury in recreation sport is alarming. 

Concussions in Sports | Leaders of Evolution

Concussions In Sports

Debra Houry, emergency department physician and Director of the Injury Center at the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, wrote about challenging the “win-at-all-cost” mentality and how this affects concussions in sport. She emphasized the need to give young athletes a sports culture that “celebrates hard work, dedication and teamwork – in a safe environment.” From leadership training and the need for mandated rules based on the science of sports concussions, the safety of student-athletes and young leaders should and will be centred around the topic of concussions in sports. 

Leaders of Evolution recognizes the need for efficient leadership, starting with the coaches and teachers and extending to each and every team member. We have designated courses for young leaders to practice their leadership skills, focused around the 4 C’s: Competence, Confidence, Character and Connectedness. 

Leaders of Evolution course-specific definitions:

  • Competence: relates to the skills the learner is developing whether they be technical (what) or tactical (how) and is intrinsically linked to performance outcomes
  • Confidence: relates to the development of positive self-worth and recognition that the learner can use the knowledge gained to influence themselves and others
  • Character: relates to how the learner develops a sense of self-awareness and behaviours such as empathy, integrity and responsibility within the communities they apply their learning
  • Connectedness: relates to how the learner is able to establish and foster positive working relationships within the environments they apply their learning

Additionally, through Leaders of Evolution’s Emerging Leaders in Sport – Teacher and Coach Intro, coaches can learn the most efficient ways to provide a student leadership learning environment, and therefore a safe and open environment for students to compete and grow. Let’s dive into the Leaders of Evolution’s Teacher and Coach Intro course first, and discuss how the curriculum can make teachers and coaches efficient in responding to and recognizing problems such as concussions in sport and more. 

Leaders of Evolution’s Emerging Leaders in Sport Course

Concussions in Sports | Leaders of Evolution

The e-learning courses developed for students-athletes discusses and brings awareness to topics they might not have engaged with previously. It focuses on topics like communication, intrapersonal intelligence, emotional intelligence, resilience and more. The purpose of the Teacher and Coach intro is to provide clarity on the design and framework of the course and set up goals for what you want your student-athletes to get out of it. At Leaders of Evolution, we know your role is pivotal in helping students become more engaged with themselves and their teammates, a necessity in responding well to problems on the field and more serious cases like injury or sports concussions. 

Leaders of Evolutions Course Breakdown: 

  • E-learning hub tour: This provides instructors with a thorough tour of instructor dashboards, courses available and courses bought, quizzes and more. 
  • The Effective Leader curriculum: The curriculum at Leaders of Evolution has been designed over years of research and updates. The 4 C’s Framework establishes clear benchmarks so instructors can track the progress of students within each topic. 
  • Planning and Structuring: Suggestions from Leaders of Evolution on how to structure your courses with students with the leadership learning cycle.
  • Guidebook and Lesson plans: The Leadership Guidebook provides students with a tangible resource to use as a reflective learning tool and transfer of learning resources. Teachers can add their own teaching styles to the lesson plans to personalize the courses for their students.
  • Troubleshoot information: Leaders of Evolution is readily available with support if there are any technological issues or bugs.

By going through Leaders of Evolution’s Teacher and Coach Intro, coaches and teachers can become fully prepared for Emerging Leaders in Sport (On-Field) courses and more to create student-athletes leaders.

Emerging Leaders in Sport (On-Field) – Influencing Performance

Concussions in Sports | Leaders of Evolution

According to the Washington Post, concussions in sport usually go unreported or untreated because athletes do not think the injury is serious, or athletes are at least severe enough to require medical attention. According to researchers, the lack of knowledge could put athletes at risk for more sports concussions in the future, or further injury aside from concussions in sport. And despite athletic administrators and coaches being aware of the risks associated within their sports, sports concussions still become a large issue. 

Researchers Jon S. Patricios and Simon Kemp published an article in 2013 focused on “rugby’s call for clarity, data and leadership in the concussion debate,” discussing the knowledge and conversation around concussions in sport specifically with the NFL and NHL, then moving onto sports concussions in rugby. Throughout their research, Patricios and Kemp discuss the scientific variables that should be considered in concussions in sport, the establishment and focus on CTE, and finally, consistent answers that all stakeholders must come up with to questions including but not limited to:

  • The extent to which athletes that suffer concussions in sport and brain injury will manifest to health issues later in life
  • How we can work to ensure that best-practice acute sports concussions management is being delivered from various stakeholders
  • How we can best counsel athletes suffering from recurrent concussions in sport
  • How we can ensure that sports concussions and sport head injury policy is reviewed regularly based off of scientific findings, updates and overall progress

At Leaders of Evolution, we agree that science must be the focal point when discussing and seeking concussions in sports-related progress. Additionally, we believe that coaching students to become more self-aware of themselves and others and develop essential leadership skills on the field, can help aid student-athletes in setting physical boundaries with themselves to compete in a safe environment.

Emerging Leaders in Sport (On-Field)

For students, this course discusses effective leadership and the characteristics and skills that make that up. Student-athletes are encouraged to take quizzes and self-reflect on those characteristics and skills focused on at Leaders of Evolution.

This leads to understanding the impact positive domino effect improves these characteristics and skills have on your teammates. While the performance and outcome of the competition are important, identifying boundaries, knowing oneself physical abilities and identifying issues like injuries or sports concussions, can lead to an overall healthier environment. 

Concussions in sport continue to be an issue for various contact sports, and many sports concussions go untreated or unreported. It’s easier to create safer and healthier environments where athletes feel comfortable sharing fear of concussions in sport or injury with coaches and team members.

To learn more about how our Emerging Leaders in Sport Course can help your student-athletes, click here to schedule a 15-minute call with Leaders of Evolution co-founder Jon Shepherd

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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.

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Isabella Grella

Excited to be exploring the intersection of emerging tech and professionalism for Leaders of Evolution. While a huge music and social-media junkie, Bella takes time to go offline and run, hike and travel with friends.

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