Concussion Protocol for Youth Sports
From the moment of impact, athletic trainers initiate a concussion protocol to ensure an athlete’s safe return-to-play.
The testing and management of concussion cases has created a substantial database of knowledge and statistics regarding sports-related concussions and concussion protocol.
- At the moment of injury, the attending athletic trainer triages and implements the concussion protocol.
- It should be noted that the minimum out-of-contact play for high school athletes is seven days.
- Next, the injured athlete is referred to a physician that specializes in concussion management.
- The physician, athletic trainer, and school work together to provide any necessary school and activity accommodations for the athlete during recovery (including 504 and IEPs).
- As needed, the physician will refer the athlete to other medical professionals (including a neuropsychologist, physical therapist, speech therapist, and optometrist) for additional treatment.
- Assessment for return-to-play takes place when the athlete is without symptoms, school attendance is without accommodation, and BESS and ImPACT scores have normalized.
- The physician and athletic trainer work together on the return-to-play progression.
- Finally, the athletic trainer educates the athlete and parents on the risks of Second Impact Syndrome. If the athlete has had more than one concussion, parents, student, physician and athletic trainer will collaborate on return-to-play decisions.
- The Center Foundation Concussion Protocol
Return to Learn
Each child and each brain injury is different. For example, most students will recover fully in days or weeks. However, some might take longer to heal. And, while not every child will need to take it easy with school after experiencing a concussion, some will require a more careful reintroduction into academic life.
Taxing the brain with too much activity can slow recovery. Because of this, it’s important to discuss your options with your healthcare provider. It is important to understand that all steps in the academic protocol must be completed before a student-athlete is ready to proceed to a return-to-play protocol.
Return to Play
A player who is symptom-free with both mental and physical exertion, tests within the expected range for cognition (ImPACT) and balance, and performs at typical levels in school is ready to return-to-play. In other words, “When in doubt, sit it out.”
Did You Know?
6% annual Central Oregon recurrent concussion rate vs. 9% annual NCAA recurrent concussion rate.