Concussion is a significant injury that can impact an athlete in many ways beyond their sport experience. As recently highlighted at the Governor General’s Conference on Concussion in Sport, we can and must do better. Prevention is the key as there is no cure for this injury. Sport organizations have a duty of care to protect their participants, but what does that mean when it comes to concussion? Concussion policy development is challenging in a sport environment, but it doesn’t have to be a headache. An effective concussion policy is an important element of quality sport programming. Not only can it reduce the risk of concussion to athletes but also helps to promote healthier return to practice and performance. There is no “gold standard” policy that is appropriate to apply across the different sports and levels of competition. However, there are 5 key elements that, when included in a policy, are known to be effective in reducing injury risk and support healthy return to play. This presentation will review the rationale for developing a comprehensive approach and the internationally consistent and evidence-based components that should be included in every sport organization’s concussion policy. Additionally, the presentation will include a checklist, based on the 5 key elements, for session attendees to evaluate their organization’s policy or use to develop one.
The Athlete Development Matrix (ADM) provides a sport curriculum that will ideally lead to training processes that are intentionally designed to meet stage appropriate objectives. Assessment should provide evidence that athletes have improved in relation to identifiable objectives of LTAD and the ADM. This session will highlight meaningful competition as a vital form of assessment and evaluation of athlete outcomes, aligning competition with the sport curriculum (ADM) is a clear priority for LTAD.
Quality sport experiences include developmentally appropriate rules. This session will outline the relationship of meaningful competition with the rules of the event, game or tournament. Do the rules in your sport and in competition reinforce the long-term athlete development stage priorities? Sport leaders including board members, officials, and coaches will understand that rules are important for safety and fairness but also for athlete development.