What is a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect force or blow to the head. You do not need to lose consciousness to have a concussion. If you suspect that your child has had a concussion, it is important that he/she be evaluated by a practitioner knowledgeable in concussion management; your doctor, the Athletic Trainer or a concussion specialist. Approximately 80-90 % of concussions resolve in 1-3 weeks. Persistent symptoms require extra care and support and perhaps an evaluation by a specialist. The key to healing is brain rest.
When a concussion occurs, it disrupts the brain cells ability to efficiently use glucose - the fuel source for the brain. When a concussed person over exerts him/herself physically or cognitively and the brain isn't able to be properly fueled, symptoms of concussion worsen. Early brain rest is critical to healing and over doing early on may delay healing.
What is brain rest?
Brain rest is not asking your brain to work harder physically or cognitively than it is able while recovering from a concussion. Your doctor, athletic trainer or school nurse may recommend time at home for rest. During the early stages of recovery from a concussion, brain rest is critical. Students should not use or severely limit the use of computer, cell phone, text messaging, video games or TV.
What Are Symptoms of Concussion?
- Visual Problems
- Balance Problems
- Sensitivity to Light or Noise
- Feeling mentally foggy
- Problems concentrating
- Problems remembering
- Feeling slowed down
- Feeling more emotional
- Sleeping more than or less than usual
- Trouble falling asleep
Symptoms are a means for determining how your child is recovering. At school, your student should be checking in with the school nurse who will assess their symptoms and help your child to understand how a symptom check list will be used to identify when brain rest is needed. Your child will be given extended time to complete assignments and should be excused from tests during their recovery. We use the Department of Education's School/Academic Expectations During Post Concussion Recovery as our guideline for helping student get caught up academically. Additionally, if your doctor has sent in a plan specific to your student, we will work with that plan.
Resources for Teachers:
Resources for Parents:
Resources for Students:
Return to Activity
Return to School
It is important for a student who has suffered a concussion to be working with a health professional trained in concussion management. Your child's physician or specialist will develop a return to school plan that you should share with the school staff (principal, teacher, guidance counselor, social worker, school nurse or athletic trainer). Your school nurse may give you a form to have the doctor complete.
When a student returns to school after suffering a concussion, his/her symptoms should help guide their activity level. Worsening symptoms during the school day signal the need for more brain rest. Some students can only return for part of the day. If concussion symptoms worsen or present themselves during the day, the student should go to the nurse's office to rest. If symptoms don't resolve after a rest period, it is recommended a student return home for more rest. Parents and students should work together with school staff to develop a plan for work completion. Concussed high school students should check in with their guidance counselor weekly. Work completion deadlines will be extended and guidance, teachers, parents and students need to communicate often about how the student is doing.
Return to Play
In accordance with the Maine Principal Association rules, students will follow the Return to Play Protocol below when returning to their sport following a concussion. Student athletes will work closely with their physician and the Athletic Trainer before returning to play. Students may be required to check in with the AD to monitor work completion. No student will be allowed to return to play if they are not able to fully participate in their academic day. Additionally, they will need to be released by their PCP or specialist.
Graduated Return to Play Protocol
- No activity
- Light aerobic exercise: Intensity below 70%; no resistance training
- Sport-specific exercise: Running, skating drills; no head impact drills
- Non-contact training drills: Progression to more complex training drills, may start resistance training
- Full-contact practice: Following physician or athletic trainer clearance, participate in normal training
- Return to play: Normal game play
* If at any time post concussion symptoms occur during the graduated return, there will be at minimum a 24 hour rest period. Once asymptomatic following the rest period the athlete will drop back to the previous asymptomatic level and the progression will resume.