Concussion & Concussion Protocal
A concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is an injury that is common in athletics but may be seen in many different scenarios. This occurs when the brain is jostled in the skull. Since it’s suspended in fluid, the brain has a certain amount of mobility and can be tossed around from side-to side, possibly striking the inside of the cranium. When this occurs, the brain can be, in effect, bruised. While a direct blow to the head can cause a concussion, it is not the only way. Any force that makes the body move in a way that can jar the head, can cause a concussion (picture a car accident where the victim experiences whiplash).
The following are some signs and symptoms that may be present with a concussion. (Please note that these do not all have to be present for the diagnosis to be given!):
-Nausea or vomiting
-Balance problems or dizziness
-Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
-Blurred or double vision
-Sensitivity to light or noise
-Feeling sluggish or slowed down
-Inability to answer simple questions or remember common events
-Fatigue and/or drowsiness
-Periods of decreased consciousness
-Unusual eye movements and/or unequal pupil size
The WYASD Athletic Training Dept. adheres to the PIAA guidelines concerning concussion. Any student-athlete exhibiting signs/symptoms of concussion are to be removed from play for that day and re-evaluated the next available day. Once a concussion determination has been made, the student-athlete’s parent (s) will be instructed to see a physician (MD or DO only) to be released to the WYASD Athletic Training Dept. (with a signed physician’s note)to begin a graduated, 5 day Return To Play (RTP) protocol. The RTP protocol only happens once the student-athlete has been totally asymptomatic for 24 hours and passes a post-injury ImPACT test.
The ImPACT test is a neurocognitive test administered before each sporting season for those student-athletes in 7th, 9th, and 11th grades and any student-athlete not tested previously. It is done to establish a baseline result to compare a post-injury result to, if the need arises. You can learn more about the ImPACT test here:
Graduated exertional testing will be conducted on the student-athlete to determine if any signs/symptoms return. Day one is 15 minutes of light aerobic activity. After this activity they are not allowed to do any more physical exertion. If no signs/symptoms occur, the student-athlete moves into Day 2 which is 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity followed by 15 minutes of circuit-type calisthenics. Again, if no signs/symptoms occur, then the following day they can move to Day 3, which is a non-contact practice with the team. As before, if no signs/symptoms occur the student-athlete can move on to Day 4, a full contact practice. Day 5 is a full return-to-play (including contests). The athlete must move from level to level, based on the lack of returning signs/symptoms, along with a 24-hour rest period between each level.
It is important to note that the athlete must rest when advised so that there is no increase in symptoms. The brain is like any muscle, once injured, it needs rest, therefore no video games, television, reading, texting, streaming or anything that may cause the brain to function and for the student-athlete to concentrate. In some cases, an altered school schedule (half days, no testing) may be warranted. This would need a written physician’s note.