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Concussion Awareness

Jeffco Public Schools recognizes the growing concern with injuries resulting in concussion and/or concussion-like symptoms. Mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), or concussion, in children/youth is a rapidly growing public health concern. Epidemiological data indicates a marked increase in the number of emergency department visits for mild TBI over the past decade. Each year, hundreds of thousands of K-12 students sustain a concussion as a result of a fall, motor-vehicle accident, collision on the playground or sports field, or other activity.

 

What is a concussion?

Concussion imageA concussion is a traumatic brain injury (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 while creating chemical changes in the brain.

There may be signs of injury to the head, such as bruising or cuts, or there may be no visible injury. A person does not need to be knocked out or lose consciousness to have a concussion (TBI). Mild TBIs are not associated with brain damage, and the problems are typically resolved in a few days to a few weeks. Moderate to severe TBIs often require hospitalization and may result in damage to the brain with possible lasting cognitive, academic, and psychological challenges.  

Know the Signs

Most children/adolescents look physically normal after a concussion and therefore, school staff may fail to recognize the need for academic or environmental adjustments following a concussion.  

It is important to be aware that symptoms fall into four domains:
Physical
  • headache
  • neck pain
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • light sensitivity
  • noise sensitivity
Sleep/Energy
  • mental fatigue
  • drowsy
  • excessive sleeping
  • not enough sleep
  • trouble falling asleep
Cognitive
  • mentally foggy
  • difficulty remembering
  • difficulty concentrating
  • slowed processing
Emotional
  • feeling more emotional
  • nervous/anxious
  • irritable
  • sad
  • angry

concussion signs

Truths and Myths of TBI and Concussion

A concussion is just a “bump to the head”
This is FALSE! A concussion is actually a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with symptoms that can range from mild to severe.
            
It is not a concussion unless there is a loss of consciousness
This is FALSE! Most concussions do NOT involve loss of consciousness. 
   
You need to wake someone with a concussion every 20 minutes

This is FALSE! Once the person has been medically evaluated, it is not dangerous to allow a child/adolescent with a concussion to sleep.  In fact sleep is encouraged!
                  
A concussion must be diagnosed by an X-ray, MRI, or CT
This is FALSE! Concussions cannot be detected by imaging tests as it is a functional injury and not a structural injury. 
 
Your student must stay home in bed until all concussion symptoms have resolved
This is FALSE! It is recommended that your student return to school when symptoms are tolerable, usually within 48-72 hours. 

Students and Concussion

Not all concussions are sports related, but all concussions require a multidisciplinary approach from the school teams to support during recovery. If a student gets a “bump to the head” while at school or during school related activities, the student will be directed to the health room for support. The parent(s)/legal guardian will be contacted AND a “bump on the head” letter will be sent home with the student. If the “bump on the head” warrants further attention, the parent(s)/legal guardian will be notified to pick up the student and encouraged to follow up with a medical provider. 
 
If the student is diagnosed with a concussion or showing signs and symptoms of a possible concussion, the same principle of removal of activity is put in place. It is always recommended that a student be evaluated by a medical provider when a concussion is suspected. The graduated return to play will be directed by the clearance from the medical provider and completed by the Athletic Trainer for student athletes, or completed by the parent(s)/legal guardian at home for elementary, middle school and non-athlete students when they have been symptom free for 24 hours.  

What this means for all students:
  • Education to staff regarding concussion identification/support
  • Education regarding the role of each staff member in concussion support
  • Removal of the student from school day activities (PE/Recess/Weight Lifting)
  • Initiation of Teacher Acute Concussion Tool (TACT) to each teacher who has the student in class
  • Return to activity (play) with medical provider direction OR
  • GRTP (Gradual Return To Play) completed by parent(s)/legal guardian at home


Jeffco Concussion Protocol

The  Jeffco Public Schools Concussion Protocol handbook provides research and evidence-based guidelines to help in the prevention of concussions, the prevention of a second impact injury, and to support students with a concussion during the recovery process. This protocol/handbook also provides a framework for the concussion support team to help guide a student to a successful and safe return to learning and play.  
Jeffco Public Schools Concussion Protocol
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