Concussions in Sports
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain normally functions. It is caused by a bump or blow to the head that forces the brain inside the skull to move back and forth. Appropriate rest from activities and schoolwork is necessary to ensure that the brain heals properly.
Prior to participating in a sport, each student is required to complete a SAC (Standardized Assessment of Concussion) test and a BESS (Balance Error Scoring System) test to obtain a baseline score. If a student is clinically diagnosed with a concussion, the baseline scores are utilized for a reference of comparison. The Athletic Trainer administers these exams once a year per student.
If a student obtains a concussion during a sporting event or practice they must be evaluated by the Athletic Trainer. If necessary, the Athletic Trainer will require the student-athlete to see another healthcare professional.
Return to Play Following a Concussion
If a student-athlete has not had concussion symptoms for 24 hours or more, the Athletic Trainer will start the return to play protocol. The return to play protocol involves 5 steps that require completion prior to full sport participation. To move forward in each step, the student-athlete must exhibit no concussion symptoms.
~Day 1: Light aerobic exercise
~Day 2: Moderate exercise
~Day 3: Non-Contact practice/modified practice
~Day 4: Practice w/o limitations
~Day 5: Return to normal participation
Return to Learn Following a Concussion
When a student-athlete obtains a concussion, the Athletic Trainer collaborates with an academic advisor to slowly progress the student back into their class work, homework, etc. The first day that the student-athlete returns to the classroom after sustaining a concussion, they are permitted to take periodical breaks, are not required to complete any tests/quizzes, and all in-class work is reduced by 50%. Other accommodations are set in place when necessary depending on the severity of the concussion symptoms. The Athletic Trainer and academic advisor continue to collaborate with the student and his/her teachers until all their symptoms have subsided and until all their make-up work is completed.