SFF SAFETY PROTOCOL
The Shitsuke Flag Football Guide For Keeping Players in the Game.
Shitsuke Flag Football is not a contact league, so the risk of injury is lower than in traditional football.
However, knee, ankle and head injuries can still occur. This reference guide provides information on how to identify and to reference some of the injuries that you may see in flag football
One of the knee that can occur in sports and in flag football is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear, which occurs when the knee is twisted forcefully or hyperextended.
Athletes with a damaged ACL often describe a “pop” at the time of injury, followed by a lot of swelling within a few hours. Athletes should see a specialist or sports medicine physician if pain and/or swelling persist.
Any player returning after a major knee injury needs to have a doctor’s clearance before they are able to participate in any Shitsuke Flag Football organized games.
The most common injury in sports is a lateral ankle sprain, which occurs in flag football by rolling the ankle over the outside of the foot. A lateral ankle sprain causes damage to the ligaments just below the bone on the outside of the ankle. In some cases a “pop” is felt or heard by the athlete.
Treatment varies with the severity of the injury:
- Mild sprains require rest but not necessarily medical treatment
- Injuries with persistent swelling, pain or any deformity should be seen by a physician.
A concussion is a brain injury usually caused by a sudden jolt or a blow to the head or neck that disrupts normal brain function.
An athlete does not need to be knocked out or have memory loss to have suffered a concussion. You may observe that an athlete with a concussion:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Forgets plays
- Has behavior or personality changes
- Is unsure of game, score or opponent
- Can’t recall events either before or after hit
- Loses consciousness
An athlete with a concussion may have:
- Concentration or memory problems
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Feelings of being “in a fog”
- Sensitivity to light or noise
There are seven observable symptoms used to identify players with concussions. Those are:
• Any loss of consciousness
• Slow to get up following a hit to the head (“hit to the head” may include secondary contact with the playing surface)
• Motor coordination/balance problems (stumbles, trips/falls, slow/labored movement)
• Blank or vacant look
• Disorientation (e.g., unsure of where he is on the field or location of bench)
• Clutching of head after contact
• Visible facial injury in combination with any of the above
When referees, players, team owners or captains or on sight medical personnel see those signs, that’s when the protocol goes into immediate effect.
What should you do if you think a concussion has occurred?
1. Seek medical attention right away. A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when it is safe to return to play.
2. Any player diagnosed with a concussion will have to sit out the next three games (three weeks) and be under observation of a medical expert.
3. Keep player out of play until medically cleared after a follow up at the end of the three weeks “out of play”. Concussions take time to heal. Don’t let your any player return to play until a health care professional says it’s okay.
Players who return to play too soon, while the brain is still healing, risk a greater chance of having a second concussion. Second or later concussions can be very serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting that player for a lifetime.
4. Inform league commissioner about any recent concussions. Team owners should know if your player has had a recent concussion.
RETURN TO PLAY PROCESS
If any player is observed to have any of the symptoms listed or suffers a hit to the head, they will immediately be taken out of the game and will not be able to return to the game. After 3 games (or 3 weeks) the player will also need to provide medical clearance from a physician before they will be allowed to participate or return to competition in any further S.F.F organized flag football games.
Any player who has any visible blood flow must be removed from the game. Before reentering:
a. The blood flow must be stopped
b. The wound(s) must be covered
c. Any portion of the uniform that has blood on it must be changed. Replacement jerseys do not have to have a number, but must be of similar color.
Because of the nature of football, some injuries may occur. Most will be minor and can be managed with basic first aid. All injuries must be called to a coach’s attention. However, an occasional situation may require more intense management and may also necessitate involvement of team members as follows:
1. Stop all games, practices, scrimmages or drills.
2. Call the referee or commissioner to manage the situation if he/she is not already at the site.
3. Sit or kneel in close proximity of injured player.
• Calling for additional assistance
• Bringing first aid equipment or supplies to the site
• Keeping onlookers away
• Directing first responder/ERT members to the site