Injuries

It is extremely important to report any injury to your coach and/or athletic trainer immediately. Medical expenses resulting from any injury must first be submitted to your own insurance carrier and then any remaining balance can be submitted to the School Accident insurance carrier.

Note: the school accident insurance provides only excess coverage according to a fee schedule.

Risk Factor in Sports

Participation in sports involves a certain degree of risk for injury. Before going out for the team, we want you to be aware of the risk so you will be better able to reduce your changes for injury. Pre-season conditioning, learning, the skills and techniques, and knowledge of rules and safety factors will enable you to have a healthy season.

Concussion Management

We utilized an innovative concussion management program called ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing).  It is a web-based software program designed to assess baseline neurocognitive functioning.

Developed in the early 1990’s by Dr. Mark Lovell and Dr. Joseph Maroon of the University of Pittsburgh, ImPACT is utilized throughout the professional, collegiate and high school athletic programs.  It is fast becoming the “Gold Standard” in recognizing and managing head injuries.  Additional information can be found at www.impacttest.com.

ImPACT is administered by our certified athletic trainer (ATC) or by a trained member of our concussion management team.  The test itself takes approximately 30 minutes  to complete and will be given to student-athletes prior to their season in order to obtain a baseline measurement.  The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning, including:

Section I – Subject Profile and Health History Questionnaire

Section II – Current Symptoms and Conditions

Section III – Neuropsychological Tests (Baseline and Post-Concussion)

  • Module 1 – Word Discrimination
  • Module 2 – Design Memory
  • Module 3 – X’s & O’s
  • Module 4 – Symbol Matching
  • Module 5 – Color Match
  • Module 6 – Three Letters

Section IV – Injury Description

Section V – Graphic Display of Data

If a student-athlete is believed to have sustained a concussion during competition, the test is taken again and the data is compared to the baseline exam.  This information will then be used as a tool to assist the treating physician, athletic trainer (ATC) and coaching staff in determining the extent of the injury, monitoring recovery and developing a return to play strategy.  If an injury of this nature occurs, we will be in contact with the parent / guardian throughout the process.

We conduct baseline tests on all contact sport student-athletes grades 7-12.  Moving forward, a new baseline test will be given to our student-athletes every two years. This is due to the changes that occur in an adolescent brain.

We are very proud to have been the first Suburban Council school district to implement a concussion management program and thankful to the school community for their support of this important initiative!

To learn more about the concussion management program, contact the Director of Athletics, David Austin at 518-861-8591 ext. 4000.

For additional resources for parents, caregivers, coaches and students, visit the New York State Department of Health site on concussions.

Concussion Definition

A concussion is a reaction by the brain to a jolt or force that can be transmitted to the head by an impact or blow occurring anywhere on the body. Essentially a concussion results from the brain moving back and forth or twisting rapidly inside the skull.

Facts about concussions according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

  • An estimated 4 million people under age 19 sustain a head injury annually. Of these approximately 52,000 die and 275,000 are hospitalized.
  • An estimated 300,000 sports and recreation related concussions occur each year.
  • Students who have had at least one concussion are at increased risk for another concussion.

In New York State in 2009, approximately 50,500 children under the age of 19 visited the emergency room for a traumatic brain injury and of those approximately 3,000 were hospitalized.

Requirements of school districts

Education

  • Each school coach, physical education teacher, nurse, and athletic trainer will have to complete an approved course on concussion management on a biennial basis, starting with the 2012-2013 school year.

Information

Removal from athletics

  • Require the immediate removal from athletic activities of any pupil that has or is believed to have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.
  • No pupils will be allowed to resume athletic activity until they have been symptom free for 24 hours and have been evaluated by and received written and signed authorization from a licensed physician. For interscholastic athletics, clearance must come from the school medical director.
    • Such authorization must be kept in the pupil’s permanent heath record.
    • Schools shall follow directives issued by the pupil’s treating physician.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a concussion are the result of a temporary change in the brain’s function. In most cases, the symptoms of a concussion generally resolve over a short period of time; however, in some cases, symptoms will last for weeks or longer. Children and adolescents are more susceptible to concussions and take longer than adults to recover.

It is imperative that any student who is suspected of having a concussion is removed from athletic activity (e.g. recess, PE class, sports) and remains out of such activities until evaluated and cleared to return to activity by a physician.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Decreased or absent memory of events prior to or immediately after the injury, or difficulty retaining new information
  • Confusion or appears dazed
  • Headache or head pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Balance difficulties, dizziness, or clumsy movements
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Nausea, vomiting and/or loss of appetite
  • Irritability, sadness or other changes in personality
  • Feeling sluggish, foggy or light-headed
  • Concentration or focusing problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue and/or sleep issues – sleeping more or less than usual

Students who develop any of the following signs, or if signs and symptoms worsen, should be seen and evaluated immediately at the nearest hospital emergency room.

  • Headaches that worsen
  • Seizures
  • Looks drowsy and/or cannot be awakened
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Unable to recognize people or places
  • Weakness or numbing in arms or legs, facial drooping
  • Unsteady gait
  • Change in pupil size in one eye
  • Significant irritability
  • Any loss of consciousness
  • Suspicion for skull fracture: blood draining from ear or clear fluid from the nose

State Education Department’s guidance for concussion management

Schools are advised to develop a written concussion management policy. A sample policy is available on the NYSPHSAA web site at www.nysphsaa.org. The policy should include:

  • A commitment to reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • A procedure and treatment plan developed by the district medical director.
  • A procedure to ensure proper education for school nurses, certified athletic trainers, physical education teachers, and coaches.
  • A procedure for a coordinated communication plan among appropriate staff.
  • A procedure for periodic review of the concussion management program.

Return to Learn and Return to Play protocols

Cognitive Rest: Activities students should avoid include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Computers and video games
  • Television viewing
  • Texting
  • Reading or writing
  • Studying or homework
  • Taking a test or completing significant projects
  • Loud music
  • Bright lights

Students may only be able to attend school for short periods of time. Accommodations may have to be made for missed tests and assignments.

Physical Rest: Activities students should avoid include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Contact and collision
  • High speed, intense exercise and/or sports
  • High risk for re-injury or impacts
  • Any activity that results in an increased heart rate or increased head pressure

Return to Play Protocol once symptom free for 24 hours and cleared by School Medical Director:

  • Day 1: Low impact, non strenuous, light aerobic activity.
  • Day 2: Higher impact, higher exertion, moderate aerobic activity. No resistance training.
  • Day 3: Sport specific non-contact activity. Low resistance weight training with a spotter.
  • Day 4: Sport specific activity, non-contact drills. Higher resistance weight training with a spotter.
  • Day 5: Full contact training drills and intense aerobic activity.
  • Day 6: Return to full activities with clearance from School Medical Director. Any return of symptoms during the return to play protocol, the student will return to previous day’s activities until symptom free.

Concussion Management Team

Schools may, at their discretion, form a concussion management team to implement and monitor the concussion management policy and program. The team could include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Students
  • Parents/Guardians
  • School Administrators
  • Medical Director
  • Private Medical Provider
  • School Nurse
  • Director of Physical Education and/or Athletic Director
  • Certified Athletic Trainer
  • Physical Education Teacher and/or Coaches
  • Classroom Teachers

Other Resources

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