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The "Children's National Medical Center" states that parents need to feel comfortable and confident with the men and women teaching their children – in whatever sport a child chooses. Parents must be sure that leagues are doing their due diligence and know the answers to the questions below:

1. Does the league have a general policy on how it manages concussions?

a. "OPW" has a “USA Football” approved policy for managing concussions.

2. Does the league have access to healthcare professionals with knowledge and training in sport-related concussion?

a. "OPW" thru our partnership with “USA Football” has access to healthcare professionals who are leading edge authorities in sport related concussions.

3. Are the coaches required to take a concussion education and training course?

a. "OPW" requires every Coach to take and pass a “USA Football” certification course. In addition, each Coach must attend 2 other clinics approved by the “Mt Baldy Conference” and “OPW” as well as one hands on training in proper “Heads Up” tackling presented by a certified “Player Safety Coach”.

4. Who is responsible for the sideline concussion recognition and response test for athletes with suspected concussions during practice and games?

a. “OPW” follows a “when in doubt sit them out” policy. During game days this policy is enforced by a qualified medical person who is at the field during every game.

5. Do Coaches have readily available tools – concussion signs and symptoms cards, clipboards, fact sheets, smartphone apps, etc. – during practices and games to guide proper recognition and response of a suspected concussion?

a. “OPW” thru “USA Football” has unlimited access to tools designed to guide proper recognition and response of a suspected concussions.

6. Does the league provide concussion education for parents, and what is the policy for informing parents of a concussion?

a. “OPW” has a mandatory parents and players meeting where they are educated on concussions and ways to prevent the same thru safe tackling and blocking techniques. Anytime a concussion is suspected the player is immediately removed from play and his/her parents are informed.

7. What is the policy regarding allowing a player to return to play? Does it coincide with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which stresses that athletes only be allowed to return to play after being cleared by a qualified medical professional?

a. “OPW” has a policy for return to play and it coincides with the “Center for Disease Control and Prevention”, and it stresses that athletes are only be allowed to return to play after being cleared by a qualified medical professional.

8. Does the league teach proper techniques and fundamentals? If the player does demonstrate unsafe technique during practice or game, do the coaches re-instruct them on the spot? Is head and neck strengthening taught?

a. Every Coach at “OPW” is required to teach techniques and fundamentals approved by “USA Football” and “Heads Up” tackling and blocking.

9. Are there limitations to the amount of contact in practices? How often does practice include live contact? Is that any different than past years?

a. “OPW” has rules to limit contact drills to one-third of practice time, and ban full-speed, head-on blocking and tackling drills in which player’s line up more than 3 yards apart. This was implemented in 2012.

10. How amenable is the league, team and coach to accepting feedback from parents about their child’s head safety?

a. “OPW” has a culture of where we believe this is your league and we welcomed any and all feedback about any topic a parent has.

The “Children’s National Medical Center” is a national leader in clinical care, advocacy, research, and education regarding children. “OPW” is proud to have been be able to positively answer each of these questions. At “OPW” we believe in safety first, that’s why we were among the nation’s first youth organizations to implement the ”USA Football” - “Heads Up” tackling program.

This is why here at “OPW” everything we do will be done in a SAFE and HEALTHY environment, designed to allow a child to have a positive youth sports experience. “OPW” the place to be for youth football in Ontario for over 55 years.

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