Bainbridge High School Concussion Policy
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Usually concussions are not life-threatening, but their effects can still be serious.
In May of 2009, the state of Washington passed a bill called the Lystedt Law, which protects young athletes from the life-threatening or potentially life-long consequences that returning to a game too soon can cause.
“…Any youth athlete suspected of getting a head injury will be removed from the practice or game. The athlete may not return to play until he or she has been evaluated by a licensed health care provider and gets clearance to play.” –Zackery Lystedt Law
Bainbridge High School, in accordance with a team of physicians at Westsound Orthopaedics, have developed a protocol to best treat concussions when they occur in sports. The Certified Athletic Trainer, Amanda Sageser, MS ATC, AT/L, and the coaches of Bainbridge High School sports are required to follow this protocol in all situations.
Management of a Concussion:
The proper management of concussions is the best form of prevention of a serious, catastrophic injury resulting from a concussion. The prevention of Second Impact Syndrome- a catastrophic increase in intracranial pressure leading to massive brain swelling, herniation and death- is of utmost concern when dealing with concussions and return to play criteria. This syndrome occurs in athletes up to 14 days post-concussion and when an athlete returns to competition prior to the complete resolution of symptoms. The Certified Athletic Trainer will oversee the return to play criteria for student-athletes who have sustained a concussion.
1. All student-athletes must participate in ImPACT baseline testing at the beginning of the season, BEFORE they will be eligible to participate (opt-out options are available for non-contact sports).
2. ANY student-athlete who is suspected of having a concussion is removed from competition for the remainder of the day.
3. No student-athlete with a concussion OR concussion symptoms will be allowed to return to play for the remainder of the day.
4. For any student-athlete who receives a concussion, the Certified Athletic Trainer, or head coach in the absence of the Certified Athletic Trainer, must communicate with the parents/guardians as soon as possible. The Head Injury Patient Information Card will be filled out and sent home with parents/guardians.
5. All possible concussions, at the discretion of the Certified Athletic Trainer, are referred for medical evaluation by a licensed physician following the injury.
6. Before the student-athlete is allowed to return, the following criteria must be met:
a. Student-athlete must by asymptomatic.
b. Student-athlete must be cleared by BOTH the Certified Athletic Trainer AND a licensed physician (hand-written clearance is REQUIRED).
c. Student-athlete must meet their pre-season baseline ImPACT score.
d. Student-athlete must complete the five-day Return to Play Protocol (see below).
7. Stepwise Return to Play Protocol:
a. No physical activity; rest until asymptomatic and normal neurocognitive testing.
b. Light aerobic exercise once the student-athlete has passed the neurocognitive testing, along with a licensed medical doctor’s clearance, and once the student-athlete is asymptomatic. Exercise must be supervised by the Certified Athletic Trainer and must follow the following schedule.
i. Day One: Increase in heart rate for 20 minutes (stationary bike, jog, elliptical, etc.). If symptoms occur, stop immediately.
ii. Day Two: No symptoms from day one. Increase heart rate for 30 minutes (quicker higher stress, sport-specific drills [non-contact]). If symptoms occur, stop immediately.
iii. Day Three: No symptoms from day two. Practice in NON-CONTACT drills (conditioning, shooting, etc.). If symptoms occur, stop immediately.
iv. Day Four: No symptoms from day three. Practice non-contact and some contact drills. If symptoms occur, stop immediately.
v. Day Five: No symptoms from day four. Practice normally. If symptoms occur, stop immediately.
vi. Day Six: No symptoms from day five. Return to game play.
c. ANY recurrence of concussive symptoms should lead to the athlete dropping back to the beginning of the Return to Play Protocol.
8. An athlete with two concussions per season will be removed from contact sports for the remainder of the season. Return to play will require neurocognitive testing, an evaluation from a physician trained in concussion management, and approval by the school’s team physician(s).
9. An athlete with a history of three or more concussions is highly recommended to avoid contact sports. Participation will require neurocognitive testing, an evaluation from a neurologist, and be at the discretion of the school’s team physician(s).