Does your district have a protocol or guidelines for concussion management in students? States are required to have a plan for returning to organized physical activity after a concussion, but not many districts provide guidelines on what should be done in the time immediately following a concussion and through the recovery process. Furthermore, there are wide variations in how some physicians treat and guide follow-up care for a concussion diagnosis, which can lead to confusing and unclear expectations for management from the school. Having a solid district protocol for concussion management can therefore help to address common challenges and provide a clearer plan for support for these students.
Some of the initial steps that my district took in developing a concussion protocol included forming an interdisciplinary district-level Brain Injury Resource Team and making connections with community partners. The Brain Injury Resource Team consisted of nurses, teachers, school counselors, assistant principals, coaches, and athletic trainers. A physician who specializes in concussion and works closely with our district also joined, as well as someone who works for the CDE with concussions. Finally, we connected with speech therapists and trauma outreach coordinators at two local hospitals and invited them to be on the team.
If you’re wondering how to get started, you could think about forming a diverse team that consists of stakeholders who are passionate about addressing this issue. Having insight from so many different perspectives helps to frame and understand the current challenges your district may be facing with concussion management, which could then identify a starting point to guide future work. In future posts, I will elaborate on some more of the work that our district Brain Injury Resource Team has done, aside from just developing our concussion protocol.