Essex Westford School District has developed this protocol to address the issue of the identification and management of concussions. Vermont State Concussion Law, Act 68 was passed into law in 2013 and recommends schools have a concussion action plan.
A safe return to activity protocol (learning and athletics) is essential following a concussion. The goal of this concussion action plan is to ensure that concussed students are identified, treated, and referred appropriately for return to learn. Consistent use of a concussion management plan will ensure that a student receives appropriate follow-up and/or academic accommodations in order to make certain that s/he is fully recovered prior to returning to full learning and physical activities involved during the school day.
Recognition of Concussion
These signs and symptoms - following a witnessed or suspected blow to the head or body are indicative of a probable concussion.
Signs (observed by others):
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Exhibits confusion
- Moves clumsily (altered coordination)
- Balance problems
- Personality change
- Responds slowly to questions
- Forgets events prior to event
- Forgets events after the event
- Loss of consciousness (not required)
Symptoms (reported by student):
- Nausea or vomiting
- Double vision, blurry vision
- Sensitive to light or noise
- Feels sluggish
- Feels “foggy”
- Problems concentrating
- Problems remembering
Any student who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion should be removed from physical activities involved in their school day and their parents/guardians will be notified. The school nurse is the individual assigned to inform parents/guardians that their student/child may have sustained a concussion.
Return to Learn Protocol: A student’s return to school following a concussion is an extremely individualized process. A concussion, no matter how mild it may seem at the time, is a brain injury. The management of the concussion is best accomplished by communication and collaboration among parents, the school, and the health care provider. The following steps are recommended before the student can return to academic activity after a suspected concussion.
- If the concussion takes place outside of school, the parent or guardian should notify the school nurse of the concussion or suspected concussion.
- Participation in the Return to Learn Protocol (RTL) as directed by the student’s physician.
- A physician will determine the student’s return to play status, as athletics teams and clubs are not included in this protocol.