The purpose of this is twofold:
- To help safeguard pickleball players by educating them, tournament and event officials, and parents and guardians of players who are minors about concussions
- Recommending that a pickleball player be removed from play when a concussion is suspected and requiring a licensed health care professional to provide clearance for the player to return to play or practice.
This concussion protocol applies to pickleball play occurring in any USA Pickleball Sanctioned Event. However, the potential for harm from concussions is a serious matter and pickleball players are well-advised to follow this protocol in all situations where they suffer a potential concussion.
Concussion Signs and Symptoms
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. A pickleball player does not have to lose consciousness to have suffered a concussion. Signs and symptoms of a concussion include the following:
|Appears dazed or stunned||Headache or "pressure in head"|
|Balance problems or dizziness||Balance problems or dizziness|
|Is unsure of game, score, opponent||Sensitivity to light or noise|
|Moves clumsily||Double or fuzzy vision|
|Answers questions slowly||Feeling sluggish or slowed down|
|Loses consciousness (even briefly)||Feeling foggy or groggy|
|Shows behavior or personality changes||Does not "feel right"|
|Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall||Concentration or memory problems|
|Can’t recall events after hit or fall||Confusion|
REMOVAL AND RETURN TO PLAY
If you suspect that a player has a concussion based on the above signs or symptoms of a concussion, take the following steps:
- Remove the player from the event.
- Recommend that the player be evaluated by an appropriate health care professional. Do not try to judge the seriousness of the injury yourself.
- If a minor, inform the player’s parents or guardians about the known or possible concussion and give them details about the suspected concussion.
- Allow the player to return to play only with a medical release from an appropriate health care professional.
Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion will be immediately removed from the game or practice and will not return to play until cleared in writing by a licensed health care professional. If a health care professional is not immediately available at the athletic event or practice and an injured player has any of the described signs, symptoms, or behaviors of a concussion, s/he should be promptly taken to a facility for appropriate medical evaluation and care.
A player must be immediately removed from a game, whether in a competitive or recreational setting if one of the following persons believes the player might have sustained a concussion during the competition or practice:
- The player himself or herself;
- A tournament official;
- If a minor, the minor’s parent or guardian or another person with legal authority to make medical decisions for the minor;
- A tournament official; or
- A supervisory representative of the venue where the game is being played.
A pickleball player removed from competition or recreational play setting may not be permitted to practice or compete again following the force or impact believed to have caused the concussion until:
- He or she has been evaluated by a health care professional (chosen by the player or, if a minor, the minor’s parent or guardian) or an athletic trainer or another medical professional working under the supervision of a physician;
- The treating physician or other licensed healthcare professional has provided a written statement or release indicating that, in his or her professional judgment, it is safe for the player to return to play; and
- The player (and the parent or guardian if a minor):
- acknowledges completing the requirements of any return-to-play protocol set by his or her health care provider and being informed of the risks associated with returning to play, and
- consents to returning to play in accordance with the "return-to-play" protocol.
Health & Safety
Stay healthy & out on the pickleball court.
Respect, fair play and graciousness by all.