The Board of Education recognizes that concussions and head injuries are the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and recreational activities. The physical and mental well-being of our students is a primary concern.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI.) A concussion occurs when normal brain functioning is disrupted by a blow or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. Recovery from concussion and its symptoms will vary. Avoiding re-injury and over-exertion until fully recovered are the cornerstones of proper concussion management. Concussions can impact a student’s academics as well as their athletic pursuits.
Recognition of Concussion
Presence of any of the following sign and symptoms may suggest a concussion:
- Loss of consciousness
- Feeling slowed down
- Seizure or convulsion
- Don’t feel right
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pressure in head
- Difficulty remembering
- Neck Pain
- Fatigue or low energy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Balance Problems
- Sensitive to light
- Sensitive to noise
Identification of Concussion and Removal from Athletic Activities
The District shall require the immediate removal from all athletic activities of any student who has sustained, or is believed to have sustained, a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) or concussion. Any student demonstrating signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion while participating in a class, extracurricular activity, or interscholastic athletic activity shall be removed from the class, game or activity and must be evaluated as soon as possible by an appropriate health care professional. Such removal must occur based on display of symptoms regardless of whether such injury occurred inside or outside of school. If there is any doubt as to whether the student has sustained a concussion, it shall be presumed that the student has been injured until proven otherwise. The District shall notify the student’s parents/guardians and recommend appropriate evaluation and monitoring.
Return to Play/Activity Protocol Following Concussion
Return to play following a concussion involves a step-wise progression once the individual is symptom free. There are many risks to premature return to play including: a greater risk for a second concussion because of lower concussion threshold, second impact syndrome (abnormal brain blood flow that can result in death), exacerbation to any current symptoms, and possibly the risk for additional injury due to alteration in balance. The NYSPHSAA current returns to play recommendations are based on the most recent international expert opinion.* No student athlete should return to play while systematic. Students are prohibited from returning to play the day concussion is sustained. If there is any doubt as to whether a student has sustained a concussion, it should be treated as a concussion. Once the student athlete is symptom free at rest for 24 hours and has a signed release by the Chief Medical Officer, he/she may begin the return to play progression below (provided there are no other mitigating circumstances).
Return to Play Progression
- Day 1: Light aerobic activity, non-strenuous such as walking
- Day 2: Higher impact and moderate activity such as running
- Day 3: Sport specific non-contact activity, low resistance weight training
- Day 4: Sport specific activity, non-contact drills, higher resistance weight training
- Day 5: Full contact training drills and intense aerobic activity
- Day 6: Return to full activities without restrictions
Each step should take 24 hours so that an athlete would take approximately one week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol once they are asymptomatic at rest and with provocative exercise. If any post-concussion symptom occurs while in the stepwise program, then the student should drop back to the previous asymptomatic level and try to progress again after a further 24 hour period of rest has passed.
*These NYSPHSAA current returns to play recommendations are based on the most recent international expert opinion.