Concussion Policy: A Construction Guide for Schools

Concussion Policy: A Construction Guide for Schools

Phil Hossler, M.S., A.T.C. and Michael Collins, Ph.D.

Concussion is a brain injury and can occur in any sport or recreation activity. This concussion guide has essential information, procedures, and forms for athletic departments, educators and administrators to develop a concussion management program that will protect student athletes in all school activities.

Written by national leaders on concussion assessment and management, the authors provide a step by step approach to developing a successful and comprehensive concussion program in schools. This guide describes the roles and responsibilities of school district leaders, a concussion committee, athletic departments and coaching staff, classroom teachers, school nurses, parents and the student-athletes. It is a unique and comprehensive approach to addressing the risks and consequences of concussion among children adolescents in our schools.

Read an interview with Phil Hossler on the risks of concussion for student athletes and schools.

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Full Description

This Concussion Policy Guide shows how to develop policy and procedures to safeguard student-athletes who have sustained a concussion. It is based on core principles of: 1) education; 2) identification/protection of the student-athlete; and 3) medical evaluation and return to play guidelines.

Users of this Guide will understand their roles and responsibilities and be provided with tools, samples and forms to create material and procedures to educate and protect student athletes. It helps:

  • Policy makers in school districts or school regions determine how personnel address concussion care and education
  • Concussion committee form and develop a program for material distribution, concussion education and communication
  • Athletic department and staff be a source of concussion education for the student athlete
  • Teachers recognize concussion related changes in the student athlete’s academic performance and provide classroom supports and accommodations
  • Parent(s) of the athlete have information on the effects of concussion and monitor the student’s recovery
  • Athletes recognize the physical, emotional, social and cognitive changes that may occur related to a concussion and to know what to do about them
Details
Item CPCG
ISBN# 978-1-931117-57-9
Pages 56 pages, 7 x 8.5, softcover
Year 2010

Authors

Phil Hossler, MS, ATC

He is the certified athletic trainer at East Brunswick High School in East Brunswick, New Jersey and has authored 3 texts for high school athletic trainers, parents and athletes. Most recent was a book written in 2006 specifically for the high school athlete and those in the “neighborhood” who would care for a concussed student-athlete titled, Getting A-Head of Concussion: Educating the student athlete’s neighborhood. He also wrote the “First Aid and Sports Safety Policies” chapter in the four editions of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance textbook, Principles of Safety in Physical Education and Sport. Mr. Hossler has had 30 articles published in various professional, coaching and teaching magazines. He has written for, been featured in or been interviewed for over 85 magazine, newspaper, radio and television outlets on topics related to high school athletic health. Phil Hossler is a member of four halls of fame, including the New Jersey Athletic Trainers’ Society, New Jersey Interscholastic Coaches Association, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. He co-authored the 1984 New Jersey state law for athletic trainers and was responsible for the landmark 1999 New Jersey endorsement from the New Jersey State Department of Education recognizing high school athletic trainers as educators.

Michael Collins, Ph.D.

Dr. Collins is a nationally renowned sports concussion clinician and researcher who joined the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Sports Medicine Concussion Program as Assistant Director when the program was established in September 2000. The program encompasses an ongoing clinical service and research team whose focus is providing the best possible evaluation and management of sports-related concussions in athletes of all levels.

In October 2002, Dr. Collins was the author of the first major study examining the effects of multiple concussions in high school athletes.  Findings were published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. In 1999, Dr. Collins was the author of two major multi-site studies involving the effects of concussion and return-to-play evaluation methods.

Dr. Collins continues to administer and oversee clinical programs for concussion management for sports teams at several major high schools throughout the country. He is a clinical consultant to numerous major league baseball teams and to several amateur and professional sports organizations, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Collins received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and biology at the University of Southern Maine in 1991, a master’s degree in psychology at Michigan State University in 1995, and his doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Michigan State in 1998.

He has published numerous other articles in neuropsychology and sports medicine journals during the past several years, and is a frequently invited presenter on the topic of sports concussions at national and international meetings. He has co-authored a sports concussion textbook and is a reviewer for the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The North American Brain Injury Society recognized Dr. Collins with the 2005 Innovations in Treatment Award, given annually to an individual selected by their Board of Directors for developing and implementing innovative and efficacious treatment for persons with brain injuries.

Contents

About the Authors

Purpose of the Construction Guide

Introduction

Responsibilities Associated with this Guide

Chapter 1 - District Policy Makers

Chapter 2 - Concussion Committee

  • Definition of Concussion
  • Concussion Committee Leadership
  • Athletes and Concussion

Chapter 3 - Athletic Department & Staff

  • District and Athletic Web Pages Handouts
  • Head Injury Take Home Sheet - Part 1
  • Head Injury Take Home Sheet - Part 2
  • Concussion In-service meetings
  • Pre-participation Acknowledgement
  • When a Concussion Does Occur
  • When to Refer Your Concussed Athlete to a Physician
  • Return-to-Play Guidelines
  • Tools Associated with Concussion Care
  • Post Concussion 7 Day Symptom Scale

Chapter 4 - Classroom Teachers

  • Teachers as Active Participants
  • Signs and Symptoms Observed by Teachers
  • Notifying the Concussed Student’s Teachers

Chapter 5 - Parents

  • Parental Steps to Care for Your Child
  • Take Home Information
  • Head Injury Take Home Sheet - Part 1
  • Head Injury Take Home Sheet - Part 2
  • Post Concussion 8 Week Checklist

Chapter 6 - Athletes

  • Adolescent Athletes’ Responsibilities to Themselves
  • Talking with Adolescent Athletes

Appendix 1 - District Wide Review Questionnaire

Appendix 2 - Concussion in the News

Appendix 3 - Additional Resources

Appendix 4 - References

Excerpts

Sample excerpt. Preview only – please do not copy

Purpose of the Construction Guide

This Construction Guide is targeted toward those individuals interested in developing policy and procedures to safeguard student-athletes who have sustained a concussion. Specifically, the users of this Guide will understand their roles and responsibilities and be provided with samples to aid in the creation of material to educate and protect adolescent athletes.

This Guide addresses the concerns, informational needs and responsibilities of many players or parties, including:

  • Policy Makers in School Districts or School Regions

    - to determine how personnel address concussion care and education

  • Concussion Committee

    - to develop a program for material distribution, concussion education and communication.

  • Athletic Department and Staff

    - to be a source of concussion education for the student athlete, coaches and parents

  • Teachers

    - to recognize concussion related changes in the student athlete’s academic performance and to provide classroom supports and accommodations

  • Parent(s) of the athlete

    - to have information on the effects of concussion and to monitor the student’s recovery

  • Athletes

    - to recognize the physical, emotional, social and cognitive changes that may occur related to a concussion and to know what to do about them

Introduction

In today’s environment, it is expected that a school district will take prudent steps to protect students in all activities offered. Injuries of the high profile and potentially serious nature of traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, demand a plan of education and implementation as well as a program to provide key members with information.

It is strongly recommended that each school district implement a plan to organize materials and educate individuals to accomplish the following general goals:

Know Concussion. Be informed about scholastic athletes and what exactly occurs in a concussion and how adolescents differ from adults when suffering from a concussion in order to effectively create a program of prevention and care.

Create a task force of local health care professionals to advise in the creation and implementation of a policy and plan

Develop policy designed to accomplish the following:

  • Identify those individuals who will evaluate concussed athletes and who will determine when they are ready to return to play.
  • Identify research-based tools that will be utilized using currently available tools such as symptoms checklists, balance grading, and computerized neurocognitive tests as well as criteria from related associations to assess presence, severity and duration of symptoms.
  • Identify a process of communication between physician, athletic trainer, coach, parent and athlete.

Offer professional development seminars to relay pertinent concussion management information to staff, parents and other stakeholders.

A concussion is a blow to the head that leads to changes in mental and emotional states. All head injuries need to be properly diagnosed in order to be treated because there is no such thing as a simple brain injury. No injury is as cloudy and difficult to accurately evaluate as concussion and few have the high potential of catastrophic consequences.1

The injured student will recover more quickly with rest, not only from physical exertion and athletic activity, but also from the cognitive demands of academic work.2 Resting from academic work is usually a difficult proposition, however, because students are at risk to quickly fall behind and become unable to catch up in their classes if they remain academically underactive for too long. Most students, except those with more severe and long-lasting symptoms, are able to continue in their studies with some temporary accommodations.

The overall goal is to support the recovering student in keeping up with academic demands in a way that does not overstress cognitive functions and unwittingly worsen symptoms. For each student, this requires a careful balancing of rest with academic work. It also involves the development of an individualized plan that prioritizes academic work and uses appropriate temporary accommodations during the recovery process in accordance with the student’s improving capabilities.3

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