Fit-to-Play Policy

Player safety is the top concern for Lake Bonavista Hockey.

Lake Bonavista Hockey wants to reduce injuries by minimizing the occurrences of players participating in games or practices when they are not fit to play due to illness or injury. All injuries are of a concern and players should not play injured, but EXTREME caution should be used especially; as it relates to concussion or suspected head injury.


1. Pulling From Play (if in doubt, err on the side of caution)

Coaches, managers and parents are encouraged to learn about the signs of concussions, but we recognize that coaches and parents typically do not have specialized medical training. When in doubt, remove the child from play and seek a qualified medical opinion. Lake Bonavista Hockey expects that coaches will remove a child from play if they suspect a concussion. This policy sets out the practical steps for coaches to follow in applying this policy.


2. Injury Assessment

Any athlete with a suspected concussion should be

  • urgently assessed medically
  • should not be left alone until assessed

Concussion should be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following:

  • Pain symptoms (such as headache), or
  • Physical signs (such as unsteadiness), or
  • Impaired brain function (e.g. confusion or memory loss), or
  • Abnormal behaviour

Presence of any of the following signs & symptoms may suggest a concussion:

  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Drowsiness
  • “Pressure in head”
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Trouble falling asleep (if applicable)
  • Neck Pain
  • Feeling like “in a fog“
  • More emotional
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • “Don’t feel right”
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sadness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Nervous or Anxious
  • Balance problems
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

If before or during a game or practice, a player is noticed by a coach to appear to be suffering from suspected concussion signs or symptoms, the coach should first talk to the player and a parent of that player to determine the nature of the injury. If the coach is of the opinion that the condition could be the result of a concussion, the coach has the authority and should declare the player unfit to play and the player shall then not participate, or continue to participate, in the practice or game. The parent and player must accept the determination of the coach for the immediate game or practice.


3. Return to Play

A player declared unfit to play for suspected concussion, shall not return to the ice without a note from a medical doctor stating either that the player does not have a concussion, or that the player has recovered from the concussion and is “cleared for game play that may include body contact”. As accidental contact occurs at the lower levels, this is a requirement for all age groups.

This policy is being put in place to empower coaches to make decisions as to whether a player is fit to play hockey. Lake Bonavista Hockey understands that in exercising this discretion coaches are not medically trained to properly assess illnesses, injuries or concussion. While we understand that inconvenience will occur, we have decided that we would rather inconvenience some families, than to allow one player to play when they should not have, due to injury.


4. Other Injuries

Coaches, managers and parents are encouraged to follow a similar policy with other physical injuries and illnesses, in addition to concussions.


5. Concussion Resources

Sport concussion assessment tool for childrens ages 5 to 12 years
Sport concussion assessment tool

Hockey Canada Concussion App
Google Play
Apple App Store