Head injuries should never be taken lightly because they don’t have to be severe before having temporary or permanent negative effects on the brain. The brain as we all know controls everything in our bodies, and even the slightest damage to it could have terrible repercussions.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is defined as a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. In school-aged children, many of these brain injuries can occur during a sports practice or event. (“Head injury and concussion information for schools, school staff, coaches, athletic trainers, and volunteers”, n.d.)
Student-athletes suspected of a head injury/concussion will not return to sport the same day of the incident and undergo a SCAT5 evaluation by the athletic trainer.
Return to Sport Protocol
A student-athlete who wishes to return to sport must follow these steps:
• The student will follow-up with the school nurse and the athletic trainer the following day.
• The student-athlete will need a physician clearance note for school and return to sport, which must be given to the athletic trainer.*
• Upon being asymptomatic may begin the 5-day Return to Play (RTP) Protocol with the 6th-day return to game.
Even if the physician’s note does not specifically diagnose the student with a concussion,
it will be at the discretion of the athletic trainer to implement the 5-day RTP Protocol
• Symptom limiting activity after initial 24-48 hours rest.
• Light aerobic exercise (walking, biking, etc.).
• Sport-Specific Activity (non-contact, removed from normal practice, allows for skill).
• Non-Contact Practice (no defender, no contact, controlled).
• Impact testing compared to baseline then contact practice.
• Full participation/game.
Should symptoms not resolve after the first 24-48 hours, the athletic trainer may decide to implement the Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test (BCTT). This is a reliable tool to gauge an appropriate heart rate in which the student-athlete may be able to do light cardio.
NOTE: Only 9% of reported concussions are accompanied by loss of consciousness and symptoms in adolescents are considered normal if they last up until 28 days.
Concussion ResourcesThe following resources might be helpful
if you or a loved one is dealing
with persisting concussion symptoms.
MA DPH Regulation for Head Injuries/Concussions