Supporting Students with Concussion
Schools and districts can support students who have experienced a concussion by providing training for school personnel on identifying signs and symptoms of concussion, implementing policies and procedures to monitor students after a concussion and providing accommodations as needed to help students recover both physically and academically.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019 approximately 15% of U.S. high school students self-reported having experienced one or more sports-related concussions in the previous 12-month period. Ohio’s youth statistics are similar. In the 2019-2020 Ohio Healthy Youth Environments Survey (OHYES!), 12.75% of respondents reported experiencing one or more concussions in the past 12 months. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury where the student experiences a bump, blow or jolt to the head or experienced a hit to the body that caused the head to rapidly move back and forth. These types of injuries cause the brain to bounce back and forth or twist in the skull causing chemical changes and sometimes resulting in damage to brain cells. Knowing and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion are the first steps in helping an injured student or athlete.
Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
Signs and symptoms of concussion generally appear soon after an injury, however, some may not show up for hours or days. Students who have experienced an injury or jolt to the head should be monitored for several days by their families and often by school personnel and coaches as well. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Inability to recall events prior to or after a hit or fall
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Confusion, concentration or memory problems
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slower than normal
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes.
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Blurred or double vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish or groggy
- Just not feeling right
Return to School: What to Watch For
When a student returns to school after a concussion, there are many things that school personnel can monitor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HEADS UP program offers Returning to School After a Concussion: A Fact Sheet for School Professionals as a guide to help school personnel understand concussion and its effects on returning to the classroom. School personnel should notify the school nurse and the student’s parents or guardians if any of the behaviors and symptoms below are noted:
- Increased problems paying attention or concentrating,
- Increased problems remembering or learning new information,
- Longer time needed to complete tasks for assignments,
- Difficulty organizing tasks,
- Inappropriate or impulsive behavior not typical for the student,
- Issues coping with stress,
- More emotional,
- Difficulty coping with loud noises or bright environments, or
- Physical symptoms (headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness).
Concussion Training for School Personnel
Concussions affect people differently. Most students will recover from a concussion within a few weeks, but for some it could take months or longer. Knowing the effects a concussion can have on a student and appropriate management of the return-to-school process is essential to helping a child or teen recover and thrive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s HEADS UP to Schools: Online Concussion Training for School Professionals program provides school personnel with free online training on concussion management in the school setting. This training program:
Helps school personnel understand how a student’s learning, emotions and behaviors can be affected by a concussion.
- Provides tools to help identify and monitor signs and symptoms at school.
- Helps school personnel understand the importance of monitoring a student’s performance following a concussion and the benefits of matching accommodations to help a student recover successfully.
- Helps school personnel identify how to improve communication with parents and healthcare providers.
Ohio's Concussion Law
Ohio law regarding concussions and school athletics went into effect in September 2014. This law requires that all interscholastic sports organizations collect a concussion and head injury information sheet from all participating athletes, signed by both the athlete and parent or legal guardian, for each sport or other category of interscholastic athletics in which the student participates. The Ohio High School Athletic Association Physical forms reflect this change. Concussion information is included in the packet. Forms are valid for one year and must be kept on file.
Ohio law requires that Ohio youth who are suspected of sustaining a concussion MUST be removed from practice or games. Ohio law prohibits the student from returning to play the same day that he or she is removed on suspicion of concussion. The student may return the following day if written clearance is provided by a physician or other authorized healthcare provider stating that the student did not sustain a concussion.
Resources for Coaches and Referees
Information on concussion management and training is available for coaches and referees free of charge. The links below provide a variety of resources and training opportunities.
Resources for Students, Teachers, School Nurses, Parents and School Administrators
Last Modified: 10/19/2023 7:56:17 AM