This Policy has been formulated based on information gathered from the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA), the American Medical, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and is in compliance with Pennsylvania state law.
A Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (aka concussion) is an injury that interferes with the normal function of the brain. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. Severity of the blow to the body/head is not a direct link to the severity of the resulting concussion. There is no such thing as a minor concussion. Any suspected concussion must be taken seriously.
All student-athletes participating in sports must have a baseline test done using the ImPACT neurological computerized concussion test. This test is to be completed within the first three days of practice or the establishment of a team roster, whichever is last. Any additions to rosters after that must be tested prior to that individual participating in any sport with exposure to contact, including balls and/or equipment (i.e. field hockey balls, lacrosse sticks, etc.). Athletes who do not complete a baseline concussion test will not be permitted to participate in any scrimmage or game activity until the test is completed. This test is valid for 2 years as based on the recommendations of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the makers of the ImPACT program. For example, a student will take the test in ninth grade and repeat it in eleventh grade.
If a coach or a parent suspects an athlete/child may be concussed or if the athlete himself suspects he may be concussed, the coach/parent/athlete must immediately notify the Certified Athletic Trainer (AT). If the AT is not on site the coach will contact the AT and inform him/her of the situation. Once it is verified that the student athlete has signs and symptoms of a possible concussion he/she may not return to any activity that day.
The following guidelines apply once the AT confirms the concussion:
1. The AT will administer the ImPACT test and will send the results to the treating physician.
2. The AT will provide a note to the athlete’s PE teacher excusing the athlete from PE as well as any activity that may raise the heart rate and further delay healing.
3. If necessary, the athlete will provide a doctor’s note to the guidance office to implement any academic accommodations that may be needed during the recovery period.
The AT will release the athlete for return to activity only when the following criteria are met:
1. The athlete must be symptom free at rest.
2. The athlete must be symptom free with exertion.
3. The athlete must have ImPACT scores that are within established normal range of baseline testing.
4. The treating physician must provide a signed, written release for the athlete to return to activity.
5. The athlete must have a normal neurologic/physical exam.
Concussion testing (ImPACT testing) is completed every other year for student athletes. New students or those who may have missed testing in the proper year will complete the ImPACT test with the start of the fall sports preseason. Testing will be completed at the school, in a quiet, controlled environment such as the school computer lab.