When a concussion is suspected on the field, the athletic trainer will evaluate the athlete and determine if a concussion is or is not present. If a concussion is present, the parent will be contacted and asked to pick up the athlete, even if the athlete drove themselves to school/practice for the day.
Following the athletic trainer’s examination, it is a Pennsylvania state law that the athlete must then be seen by a physician with a background in concussions. This CANNOT be a pediatrician; it MUST be an orthopedic doctor, sports medicine doctor, concussion specialist, or neurologist. The athletic trainer has multiple doctors to recommend if need be! Once the athlete is seen by the doctor, they must bring both the school nurse AND the athletic trainer paperwork stating their restrictions.
Upon the cessation of concussion symptoms the athlete should return to the same doctor and be cleared to begin their return to play protocol. This return to play is administered by the athletic trainer and the athletic trainer only. The protocol can ONLY occur once the athlete is symptom free and has given the athletic trainer their clearance from the doctor. The protocol takes approximately 1 week to administer. Just because your athlete was cleared by the doctor does not mean they may return to full participation immediately. The law requires a gradual return to sport to ensure the concussion does not return.
If you suspect yourself, your student, or your peer, has a concussion, please click on the appropriate link to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of concussions. If you believe a concussion is present, please seek medical attention.
Signs and symptoms: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/signs_symptoms.html
For athletes: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/Athletes_Fact_Sheet-a.pdf
For teachers/administration: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/TBI_factsheet_TEACHERS-508-a.pdf
At the beginning of each sports season, the athletic trainer administers a baseline concussion test called the ImPACT Test. The test is done to establish the athlete’s cognitive function at rest, before a concussion occurs. If a concussion is sustained, the athlete can take the test again to see when his or her symptoms return to normal. This test helps return athlete’s to the playing field safely and efficiently.
To learn more about the ImPACT test, click here: https://www.impacttest.com/
Return to School/Participation Protocol:
The protocol for returning to school and/or sports following a concussion is a gradual one. Your doctor will have specific restrictions for school, but for a general guideline please click here: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/pdf/TBI_Returning_to_School-a.pdf
The return to play protocol is administered by the athletic trainer. This is a 4 step process, and takes approximately 1 week to administer fully. There is absolutely NO wiggle room in this return to participation protocol. If you are interested in what the protocol looks like, you can find it here.