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USQ Update

Spring 2020 Safety Tips

Safety tips and resources to keep in mind for the second half of the USQ season.

Now that the second half of the US Quidditch season is in full swing we want to share some safety reminders and resources. Safety is always a number one priority for our athletes while competing and practicing. 

If you have any additional safety questions please reach out to membership@usquidditch.org or visit our player safety resources page here. Thank you to Shawn Zink, USQ’s Athletic Trainer Coordinator, for sharing the resources and tips below with us. Zink is a certified athletic trainer based in South Carolina, and has been involved with quidditch for many years. He’s been to every national championship since World Cup 7. 

Event Safety

At a tournament, if you have an underlying condition that might impact your ability to compete safely(asthma, etc.) please feel free to let the on-site medical staff know in advance (all official events have either EMTs or ATCs present, per USQ’s official games policy). You can check in with them when you arrive. They are often stationed at the tournament’s HQ tent. Having this information helps medical staff assist you better should an issue arise while you are competing. If you are treated by medical staff, you can also ask them to send you a copy of any injury forms or concussion screens they do for you. Having this information can be helpful post-event, especially if you receive follow-up care by another medical professional.   

Sun Safety

Protecting yourself from sun damage is important all year no matter what the weather may be. Exposure to the sun can cause eye damage, sunburn, skin cancer (the most common of all cancers), and skin aging. Some preventive measures include:

  • Broad spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher
    • Be sure to reapply every two hours at minimum 
    • Sunscreens that claim to be waterproof still need to be reapplied frequently
  • Covering skin exposed to the sun by wearing hats, pants, long sleeves, sunglasses, etc. Specific sun protective clothing is also an option
  • Limiting your time in the sun when possible

Visit these recommended websites to learn more:

Heat and Hydration Safety

As athletes, it is especially important to be aware of heat issues and know how to stay safe. Always stay hydrated when exercising.Click the headers below to learn more about heat illness and staying hydrated. 

  • Heat Exhaustion 
    • Heat exhaustion is one of the most common heat-related incidents that an athlete may experience. Being in a hot/humid environment, not drinking enough fluids, and inappropriate work/rest ratios may lead to heat exhaustion. Some symptoms may include fainting, weakness, headaches, and heavy sweating. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, move them to the nearest shade spot, remove excess clothing, elevate legs, cool the individual with a fan/ice, and provide fluids for rehydration. If an athletic trainer is present please seek their help as well. 
  • Heat Syncope
    • This references fainting episodes someone may experience in a high heat environment. This usually happens within the first initial days someone is exposed to a high amount of heat and their body does not acclimate or may be sitting for a prolonged period in the heat and then stand up too fast. Some symptoms may include dizziness, loss of consciousness, tunnel vision, pale or sweaty skin, and weakness. If someone is experiencing these symptoms move them to a shaded area, remove excess clothing, instruct them to sit or lie down, elevate legs, and provide fluids for rehydration. If an athletic trainer is present please seek their help as well. 
  • Heat Cramps
    • Extensive dehydration and loss of sodium or lack of electrolytes in high heat environments can lead to heat cramps. Symptoms can include painful and involuntary muscle spasms, fatigue, muscle cramps, dehydration/thirst. If someone is experiencing these symptoms move them to a shaded area, stretch/massage/knead the muscles that are cramping in a stretched position, provide fluids for rehydration, provide a food high in salt, and if the pain persists use ice to massage the cramped area. If an athletic trainer is present please seek their help as well.
  • Exertional Heat Stroke
    • External heat stroke occurs when someone's core body temperature is higher than normal due to heat exposure. Vigorous activity in high heat, lack of time to adapt to a high heat environment, lack of hydration, and heavy equipment/clothing are some factors that can lead to exertional heat stroke. Some symptoms include headaches, inability to walk, increased heart rate, dizziness, confusion/disorientation, loss of balance, and seizures. If someone is experiencing these symptoms removal of excess clothing and immerse the individual in cold water. It is important to seek immediate medical attention when external heat stroke occurs. If an athletic trainer is present please seek their help as well; otherwise, the individual should be transported to the nearest medical facility for monitoring.
  • Hydration
    • Being conscious of your hydration before, during, and after athletic activity is important, especially if you are in a high heat environment. Lack of fluids can lead to dehydration, so be sure to have a hydration plan in place. At practices or tournaments be sure that athletes have access to water whether they bring it themselves or it be provided for them. For long athletic activity sessions sports drinks are encouraged so necessary elements like electrolytes are replaced and keep you sustained longer. 

General preventive measures for heat related incidents include:

  • Frequent hydration
  • Allowing time to acclimate to high heat environments
  • Taking frequent breaks from athletic activity
  • Encouraging teammates to sit out or sit yourself out if your or a teammate begin to experience any symptoms of heat related issues
  • Don’t try to ‘push through’ when you’re not feeling well - it’s important to take care of yourself as not addressing those symptoms can lead to long term harm

Concussions & Head Injuries

A concussion (also referred to as a mild TBI) is a type of brain injury that changes the way your brain regularly functions, generally caused by a bump or blow to the head. A concussion can also be caused by a fall or blow to the body that results in the head and brain quickly moving back and forth. It is very important that you and your team can recognize symptoms of a concussion because a repeat concussion (a second concussion sustained before an individual recovers from the first) can greatly increase the likelihood of longer term problems. Additionally, your brain is more susceptible to injury while healing. A certified healthcare professional should evaluate each and every athlete after a major fall and/or blow to the head. 

  • Symptoms
    • While symptoms may take some time to develop, some signs to be aware of include confusion, loss of consciousness, amnesia, severe/worsening headache, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, unequal pupil size, irritability, and blurred vision. 
  • USQ Concussion Evaluation Policy
    • Players with concussions or concussion-like symptoms are not permitted to play in any games until they have been cleared by on-site medical staff or a primary care physician. If medical staff onsite see a player with concussion-like symptoms, the player must submit to a concussion test if asked to do so or they will be disqualified until further notice. If a captain/coach notices one of their players with concussion-like symptoms they must escort the player to be examined by medical staff, or the captain/coach is also subject to suspension for the remainder of the tournament.
  • Preventive Measures
    • Letting go of your broom when falling. 
      • You are not required to keep your hands on your broom during play, it just needs to stay between your legs and off the ground. Letting go of the broom can free your hands up to brace your fall, and you can squeeze your legs together to stay “on broom.”
    • Wearing a mouthguard (which are required by USQ for all official games)
      • While mouthguards cannot protect against a concussion, it can help reduce the severity of a facial injury. Mouthguards do help protect your teeth, cheeks, tongue, mouth and jaw.    
    • Neck strengthening exercises
      • The neck can move in a variety of ways but is often a part of our body that we neglect to spend time strengthening. Studies are showing that working the muscles in your neck more may help lessen the force in a collision that often leads to a concussion. For recommended neck exercises, click here
    • Learn proper techniques for tackling and falling
      • Having a proper technique established can help reduce the risk of a head injury when making contact with someone. For some initial recommended resources to review, click here or click here

All USQ certified coaches are required to take the NFHS concussion webinar. We also recommend it for anyone else serving in a leadership position on a team. The webinar is free and takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Visit these recommended resources and training courses to learn more: