A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain.
Concussions Are Serious
Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.
Dangerous Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion
The student/child should be evaluated in an emergency department right away if s/he has any of the following:
-One pupil larger than the other, dilated or unreactive pupils.
-Drowsiness or inability to wake up.
-A headache that gets worse and does not go away.
-Slurred speech, weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination.
-Repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures (shaking or twitching).
-Unusual behavior, increased confusion, restlessness, drowsiness, or agitation.
-Loss of consciousness (passed out/knocked out). Even a brief loss of consciousness should be taken seriously.
-Decreased or irregular pulse.
-Decreased or irregular respirations.
Return to Play
Students will have to be cleared by a medical provider before being allowed to return to physical education/athletic competition. Athletes removed from participation for suspected head injury are not to be returned to athletic activities until at least 24 hours have passed without symptoms and the student has been evaluated and cleared by a licensed physician. Athletes cannot be cleared by a Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practitioner. Once a note from the provider is given to the School Nurse clearing the student they will notify the Athletic Department to start the Return to Play protocol. This is a series of steps (1 step every 24 hours) of increased activity the student must complete without becoming symptomatic in order to return to physical education (3 steps)/athletic competition (5 steps). Due to the increased risk for concussion during competitive play, the return to play protocol for interscholastic athletes is more extensive. Once the steps are completed without return of symptoms, the school nurse and Medical Director will review the signed concussion tracking form. Once the School Medical Director/delegate signs the tracking form it will be copied to the students teacher/coach indicating that they are cleared to return to full activity.
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