Health and Recreation Departments Introduce Concussion Policy
to Better Protect Student Athletes in Englewood
Every year in the U.S, over 135,000 children aged 5 to 18 are treated in emergency rooms for sports-related concussions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But many concussions go untreated every year, based on an outdated idea that concussions are minor and will disappear in a few days. As a result of this "walk it off mentality," an unknown number of concussions in student athletes go untreated.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that impacts the functioning of the brain. It is usually caused by a blow to the head, but can also be caused by violent shaking. Pediatricians believe the brains of children and teens, still developing, are significantly more susceptible to such injury than those of adults. Concussions can impair memory, judgment, balance, and concentration. For athletes who experience a concussion, returning to play too soon may be especially dangerous. Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), or suffering a second concussion while still under the effects of a prior concussion, can have serious consequences, including death.
In an effort to be at the forefront of protecting children, the Englewood Health and Recreation Departments have implemented a concussion policy, beginning with the 2011 Fall sports season. Among components of this policy, all age appropriate student-athletes will be administered the IMPACT test, a computerized test that assesses various areas of cognitive functioning and is sensitive to concussion activity. To date, the test has been commonly used with athletes in university and high school settings. However, given that sports-related concussion activity occurs in substantial numbers in younger populations, the Health and Recreation Departments have determined that it is in the best interest of our student athletes to provide them with the opportunity for this assessment.
The guidelines of the new concussion policy include the following: provide information regarding the nature and risk of concussions/head injuries; provide an information sheet regarding concussions/head injuries signed by both the student athlete and his/her parent or guardian prior to the student athlete’s first practice; require a student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game to be removed from play/competition at that time; and require a student athlete who is removed from play to not return to play until he/she is evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions/head injuries. Written notice must also be given to the student athlete with clearance to return to play.
According to Health Officer/Director Nelson Xavier Cruz, “If you think you have a concussion, you should not return to play on the day of the injury and until a health care professional says you are medically cleared to return to play. We hope that this new concussion policy will result in more timely treatment of concussions, before they can become a serious impediment to student athlete's health.”
Post until 10/15/11