Safety, Injury, and Concussion Concerns
When dealing with children the single most important thing to remember when an injury occurs is good communication. Even when a seemingly innocuous incident occurs it is best to always “cover your base” and communicate with the athletes’ parents.
If you have any doubt at all over the severity of an injury, cover yourself and request a doctor’s note with a date of return on it. Don’t take the parents word that “Johnny is ok.” When things go wrong you will inadvertently be the first person they blame.
It is ALWAYS best to err on the side of caution (when in doubt sit him out).
The new NJSIAA guidelines require that any athlete with ANY signs and symptoms of a concussion (dizziness, headache, nausea, behavioral differences, visual issues, trouble with recall) must remain COMPLETEL Y out of activity for 7 days AFTER the symptoms disappear. Plus, an additional 5 days of a gradual return. Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should consult with a physician.
A doctor’s note is required for return after 12 days. Don’t be surprised if many physicians will return them sooner. That does not mean that you have to allow them to return. It is most prudent to allow the full time to heal.
The ER will generally issue a CA T scan and advise that the player did not suffer a concussion. Again, it is best to remain cautious.
Remember that returning a player before they are completely healed can lead to catastrophic effects called secondary impact syndrome. Even though the headache is gone the athlete can have lifelong issues.
Helmets – The NOCSAE seal must be clearly marked on all helmets and face mask’s to be approved for Little League use.
NOCSAE has set the standard in football helmet protection since 1969 and in 1983 baseball helmets started meeting this standard. In 2005 Little League has adopted this safety standard and has made it mandatory that all helmets and face masks meet these standards.
All children are required to wear a helmet when batting, running the bases or coaching at a base.
Bats – At all levels of Little League play, bats may be made from material other than wood (such as aluminum or composite materials) and must be approved for use in Little League Baseball. The maximum bat length is thirty-three (33) inches and maximum barrel diameter may not exceed 2 1/4 inches. Beginning in 2009 all Little League bats must be labeled with a Bat Performance Factor (BPF) of 1.15 or lower.
Bats for the Junior League level may have a maximum length of thirty-four (34) inches and a maximum barrel diameter of 2 5/8 inches. Bats for the Big and Senior League levels may have a maximum length of thirty-six (36) inches and a maximum barrel diameter of 2 3/4 inches for wood bats and 2 5/8 inches for non-wood bats. Big and Senior League bats must meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) testing standards that are currently used in the NCAA and NFHS (high school).
Protective Cup – An athletic cup is an essential piece of protective gear for any active male athlete. The athletic cup should fit properly to offer maximum safety. A protective athletic cup can prevent serious injury, and the athletic cup’s high impact material prevents excessive movement. Proper protection allows an athlete to fully participate without fear of injury to the crotch area.