6 Signs a Player Should Get Medical Attention

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Kevin D. Plancher, MD, is a Clinical Professor in Orthopaedics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and a team physician for the New York Lizards Major League Lacrosse Team.

Planchard shared his thoughts on how coaches should handle situations in which a player is struggling to determine whether he is hurt or injured.

A Suspected Concussion

If a coach monitors any of the following signs, it is incumbent that he removes the players from action: headache, nausea, balance problems, dizziness, double or blurry vision, sensitivity to light and noise, fatigue or drowsiness, trouble concentrating, irritability, and memory loss.

A Change in a Player’s Gait

If a player is limping or struggling to move in between plays, evaluate the player for an injury. “A simple sprain can become a broken ankle if it’s not taped. A coach can save the whole season for a player by having him sit out for one game.”

A Player Grimacing

“The best coach is one that develops a relationship with his players, and the greatest coaches do that naturally,” Plancher said. If you know a player well, you will be able to tell when he’s playing in pain.

Trouble Breathing

Make note of your players’ preseason physical evaluations. If you have a player who has been diagnosed with asthma, monitor that player’s stamina and fatigue levels during games.


Many high school players play on both sides of the ball, so opportunities to hydrate can be few and far between. Make sure those two-way players have access to water during stoppages in play. Trainers can run onto the field with water bottles.

Preexisting Conditions

If a player is returning to the field from injury earlier than expected, monitor that player closely to ensure he is making a smooth return. If a player struggles in cold or hot temperatures, monitor the pregame routine to ensure the player is giving himself the best chance to make it through the game healthy.

Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at dguttenplan@ae-engine.com. Tweet us @fnfcoaches.