Concussion Protocol

Introduction

All student athletes at the high school and middle school will undergo baseline neurocognitive testing (currently ImPACT) as soon as teams are chosen. The IMPACT test known as The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test is a 30-minute computer-based test. The test measures verbal and visual memory and reaction times. The athlete’s initial test becomes the comparison by which that athlete’s future ImPACT tests are checked against when a concussion happens.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal function of the brain. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head or body can result in a concussion. Some of the most common symptoms include headache, confusion, memory loss, nausea, dizziness, trouble concentrating, and loss of balance or even a seizure. A concussion may last days or even weeks.

Signs and Symptoms of concussion:  Symptoms do not always present immediately after the concussive event and may change over time

*Any one or more of the following signs and symptoms may indicate a head injury has occurred:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to visual and auditory stimuli, such as bright lights o loud noise
  • Feeling “sluggish” or “foggy”
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with memory

Some signs that may be observed by coaches, other team members following a concussive event:

  • Disoriented or confused appearance such as:
  • Being unsure of surroundings
  • Uncharacteristic decrease in performance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Any loss of concussion. Note: Most concussions do not include loss of consciousness.
  • Personality or behavior changes (irritated, agitated, sad, etc).
  • Unable to recall events immediately before or after the concussive event.
  • Athlete does not seem to be like themselves.

In the event a concussion is suspected, the following protocol will be used:

  • Any student athlete suspected of having a concussion should be removed from play and evaluated by an appropriate health care professional (Athletic trainer or Physician) as soon as possible.
  • If a concussion is diagnosed by the athletic trainer or a physician, the athlete will be held out of all athletic activity until:
  1. They are symptoms free.
  2. They have a post injury neurocognitive test.
  3. They are evaluated by and receive written clearance from a physician (MD or DO)
  • No athlete should return to play or practice on the same day of a concussion.

The following guidelines will be implemented once the athlete has been cleared by a doctor:

Rehabilitation Stage Functional Exercise at Each Stage of Rehabilitation Objective of Each Stage
1) No Activity Complete Physical and Cognitive Rest Recovery
2) Light Aerobic Exercise Walking, Swimming, or Cycling

  • Keeping intensity to <70% of maximum predicted heart rate
  • No resistance training
Increase Heart Rate
3) Sport-Specific Exercise Running drills in Soccer, cutting drills in Football

  • No head-impact activities
Add Movement
4) Non-Contact Training Drills Progression to more complex training drills, ex:

  • Passing drills in football and ice hockey
  • May start progressive resistance training
Exercise, Coordination, and Cognitive Load
5) Full-Contact Practice Following medical clearance, participate in normal training activities Restore athlete’s confidence
Staff assesses functional skills
6) Return to Play Normal game play