Concussion/Head Injury/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Information
Definition: A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) which alters the functioning of the brain. A concussion can occur with any bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the brain to quickly move back and forth. Concussions can occur as a result of a fall, motor vehicle accident, accident on the playground, during athletic participation, or during many other activities. All concussions are serious and need to be evaluated by a health care professional.
Signs and Symptoms: Look for the following signs and symptoms of concussion for any student who suffered a bump, blow, or jolt to their head or body:
- Headache or head “pressure”
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Dizzy and/or problems with balance
- Blurry vision or double vision
- Light and/or noise sensitivity
- Feels “foggy”
- Hard time concentrating
- Hard time remembering
- Just “doesn’t feel right”
- Unable to remember events before or after the injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Appears dazed or out of it
Prevention: Below are ways to help reduce the risk of sustaining a concussion:
- Wear a seat belt every time you are driving or riding in a motor vehicle.
- Never drive or ride in a vehicle with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear appropriate safety equipment, including properly fitted helmets, such as, but not limited to, when:
- riding a bike, motorcycle, snow mobile, or ATV;
- playing contact sports (examples include football, soccer, hockey, and lacrosse);
- skiing, snowboarding, and sledding;
- horseback riding; or
- batting during baseball or softball
- During any athletic participation including practices and games:
- Always use the recommended protective equipment for that sport (all equipment should be fitted appropriately and maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendations);
- Safety rules need to be followed by all participants as well as proper techniques for safe playing;
- Learn and follow the rules of the sport being played and promptly and honestly report injuries to an adult; and
- Any student with a head injury must be removed from participation, will be referred to their healthcare provider for follow-up, and will remain out of play until proper medical documentation is submitted.
Returning to Sports/Athletics: The District follows a more stringent version of the International Consensus Conference Guidelines for Return to Play (RTP) to team sports in a monitored and graduated progression of activity over six Phases once the athlete is symptom free for at least 24 hours and medically cleared by their physician*. The process is detailed below.
Guidelines for Return to Play Following Head Injury/Concussion
DAY 1 No Activity, complete rest
DAY 2 Light aerobic exercise such as walking or stationary cycling
DAY 3 Sport specific exercise (Ex: Running and Ball Skills in Soccer)
DAY 4 Non-Contact training drills (Ex: Walk-through pass blocking)
DAY 5 Full Contact after receiving medical clearance
DAY 6 Games
If any post-concussion symptoms develop at any stage, drop back to DAY 1 and try to progress again after 24 hours. No medications may be taken at step of the progression to prevent masking a more serious underlying condition. You must check in with your coach every day PRIOR to practice.
*For purposes of the head injury RTP protocol, an appropriate physician evaluation is completed by a practicing MD or DO within the following specialties: family medicine, pediatrics, sports medicine, neurology, or neurosurgery, with preference given to the individual’s primary care physician. Family members and friends of the family who are medical providers may not serve as an appropriate physician. The physician completing the physician’s evaluation form should document name, degree, specialty, practice name (if applicable), address, and phone number.
For additional information on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), please visit the following websites:
Information adapted from The Centers for Disease Control, Heads Up Concussion in Youth Sports, http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/