The Fluvanna County School system will require all athletes and their parents/guardians to attend a power point presentation at the annual parent meeting for the extracurricular activity which they will be involved. Athletes and parents/guardians will review materials regarding the nature and risk of concussions, criteria for return to play, and the risk of not reporting the injury and continuing to play. Athletes and their parents/guardians will be required to acknowledge receipt of the educational materials and attendance at the presentation prior to extracurricular participation by signing a statement acknowledging receipt, review and understanding of this information.
FCHS Concussion Policy
It is required by Virginia law that all parents of FCHS Student/Athletes view the concussion related material included in this packet and the related links listed below.
Concussion information packet-includes the following
- FCHS Concussion Protocol and Policies
- Concussion in Sports What You Need to Know
- Concussion Policy Acknowledgement Form
Video on Concussions:
Athlete Fact Sheet:
Parent Fact Sheet:
FLUVANNA COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL CONCUSSION PROTOCOL AND POLICIES
The Fluvanna County School System is prepared to take the following measures to ensure the division will be in compliance with the Code of Virginia regarding the management of concussions in athletics, effective as July 2011.*
These measures include, but are not limited to:
- The education of athletes and their parents/guardians regarding the nature and risk of concussions, criteria for return to play, and the risks of not reporting these injuries and continuing to play.
- Athletes and their parents/guardians will be required to attend a VHSL power point presentation by the Certified Athletic Trainer at the parent meeting held prior to each athletic season.
- Athletes and their parents/guardians will be required to acknowledge attendance at the presentation and the receipt of educational materials, including the Student Athlete Handbook, prior to participating in an extracurricular activity.
- Posters, handouts, educational videos will be made available in the Activity Director’s office, the athletic training room, nurse’s office, coaches’ offices, and locker rooms.
- The Student Athlete Handbook will include the VHSL Concussion Guidelines with a requirement that all athletes and their parents/guardians will have to sign a statement of acknowledgement that they have reviewed these guidelines prior to participating in an extracurricular activity.
- Coaches Requirements
- Coaches will be required to pass a VHSL Coaches Concussion Course and review the guidelines annually before coaching that school year.
- Coaches will be instructed to immediately remove any athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice/game and immediately seek care from a licensed health care provider. The athlete is not to return to participation that day.
- Coaches will also be instructed that a student athlete must have a written clearance from a licensed health care provider before being allowed to return to play. Coaches and parents/guardians are not qualified to make this decision.
- Protection of Volunteers
In the event the licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions is a volunteer, they will be protected under local School Board Policy with regard to liability.
- Guidelines for Physicians and Certified Athletic Trainers
Physicians and certified Athletic Trainers will follow VHSL and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) guidelines for the management of head injuries on the sidelines.
- Please note the five day observation time period is five working days where the student/athlete can be observed and evaluated by the FCHS trainer or team doctor
*The appropriate language for the concussion protocol and policies will be identified by the Board of Education and Virginia High School League Sports Medicine Committee.
CONCUSSION IN SPORTS
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
What should I do if I think my child has a concussion?
If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, he or she must be immediately removed from play, be it a game or practice. Continuing to participate in physical activity after a concussion can lead to worsening concussion symptoms, increased risk of further injury, and even death. Parents and coaches are not expected to be able to “diagnose” a concussion, as that is the job of a medical professional, however, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion and if you are suspicious, then your child must stop playing:
When in doubt, sit them out!
All athletes who sustain a concussion need to be evaluated by a health care professional who is familiar with sports concussions. You should call your child’s physician and explain what has happened and follow your physician’s instructions. If your child is vomiting, has a severe headache, is having difficulty staying awake or answering simple questions, he or she should be taken to the emergency department immediately.
When can an athlete return to play following a concussion?
After suffering a concussion, no athlete should return to play or practice on the same day. Previously, athletes were allowed to return to play if their symptoms resolved within 15 minutes of the injury. Studies have shown us that the young brain does not recover quickly enough for an athlete to return to activity in such a short time.
Concerns over athletes returning to play too quickly have led state lawmakers in both Oregon and Washington to pass laws stating that no player shall return to play following a concussion on that same day and the athlete must be cleared by an appropriate health-care professional before he or she is allowed to return to play in games or practices. The laws also mandate that coaches receive education on recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussion.
Once an athlete no longer has symptoms of a concussion and is cleared to return to play by a health care professional knowledgeable in the care of sports concussions he or she should proceed with activity in a step-wise fashion to allow the brain to re-adjust to exertion. On average the athlete will complete a new step each day. The return to play schedule should proceed as below following medical clearance:
- Step 1: Light exercise, including walking or riding an exercise bike. No weight- lifting.
- Step 2: Running in the gym or on the field. No helmet or other equipment.
- Step 3: Non-contact training drills in full equipment. Weight-training can begin.
- Step 4: Full contact practice or training.
- Step 5: Game play
If symptoms occur at any step, the athlete should cease activity and be re-evaluated by their health care provider.
How can a concussion affect schoolwork?
Following a concussion, many athletes will have difficulty in school. These problems may last from days to months and often involve difficulties with short and long-term memory, concentration, and organization.
In many cases it is best to lessen the athlete’s class load early on after the injury. This may include staying home from school for a few days, followed by a lightened schedule for a few days, or perhaps a longer period of time, if needed. Decreasing the stress on the brain early on after a concussion may lessen symptoms and shorten the recovery time.
What can I do?
- Both you and your child should learn to recognize the “Signs and Symptoms” of concussion as listed on the parent/guardian concussion acknowledgement form.
- Teach your child to tell the coaching staff if he or she experiences such symptoms.
- Emphasize to administrators, coaches, teachers, and other parents your concerns and expectations about concussion and safe play.
- Teach your child to tell the coaching staff if he or she suspects that a teammate has a concussion.
- Monitor sports equipment for safety, fit, and maintenance.
- Ask teachers to monitor any decrease in grades or changes in behavior that could indicate concussion.
- Report concussions that occurred during the school year to appropriate school staff. This will help in monitoring injured athletes as they move to the next season’s sports.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it so important that an athlete not return to play until they have completely recovered from a concussion?
Athletes who are not fully recovered from an initial concussion are significantly vulnerable for recurrent, cumulative, and even catastrophic consequences of a second concussive injury. Such difficulties are prevented if the athlete is allowed time to recover from the concussion and return to play decisions are carefully made. No athlete should return-to-sport or other at-risk participation when symptoms of concussion are present and recovery is ongoing.
Is a “CAT scan” or MRI needed to diagnose a concussion?
Diagnostic testing, which includes CT (“CAT”) and MRI scans, are rarely needed following a concussion. While these are helpful in identifying life-threatening brain injuries (e.g. skull fracture, bleeding, swelling), they are not normally utilized, even by athletes who have sustained severe concussions. A concussion is diagnosed based upon the athlete’s story of the injury and the health care provider’s physical examination.
What is the best treatment to help my child recover more quickly from a concussion?
The best treatment for a concussion is rest. There are no medications that can speed the recovery from a concussion. Exposure to loud noises, bright lights, computers, video games, television and phones (including text messaging) all may worsen the symptoms of a concussion. You should allow your child to rest as much as possible in the days following a concussion. As the symptoms lessen, you can allow increased use of computers, phone, video games, etc., but the access must be lessened if symptoms worsen.
How long do the symptoms of a concussion usually last?
The symptoms of a concussion will usually go away within one week of the initial injury. You should anticipate that your child will likely be out of sports for about two weeks following a concussion. However, in some cases symptoms may last for several weeks, or even months. Symptoms such as a headache, memory problems, poor concentration, and mood changes can interfere with school, work and social interactions. The potential for such long-term symptoms indicates the need for careful management of all concussions.
How many concussions can an athlete have before he or she should stop playing sports?
There is no “magic number” of concussions that determine when an athlete should give up playing contact or collision sports. The circumstances surrounding each individual injury, such as how the injury happened and length of symptoms following the concussion, are very important and must be considered when assessing an athlete’s risk for further potentially more serious concussions. The decision to “retire” from sports is a decision best reached following a complete evaluation by your child’s primary care provider and consultation with a physician or neuropsychologist who specializes in treating sports concussion.
I’ve read recently that concussions may cause long-term brain damage in professional football players. Is this a risk for high school athletes who have had a concussion?
The issue of “chronic encephalopathy” in several former NFL players has received a great deal of media attention lately. Very little is known about what may be causing dramatic abnormalities in the brains of these unfortunate retired football players. At this time we have very little knowledge of the long-term effects of concussions which happen during high school athletics.
In the cases of the retired NFL players, it appears that most had long careers in the NFL after playing in high school and college. In most cases, they played football for over 20 years and suffered multiple concussions in addition to hundreds of other blows to their heads. Alcohol and steroid use may also be contributing factors in some cases. Obviously, the average high school athlete does not come close to suffering the total number or shear force of head trauma seen by professional football players. However, the fact that we know very little about the long-term effects of concussions in young athletes is further reason to very carefully manage each concussion.
This information was provided by the National Federation of High School Sports.
What can happen if my child/player keeps on playing with a concussion or returns too soon?
Athletes with the signs and symptoms of concussion should be removed from play immediately. Continuing to play with the signs and symptoms of a concussion leaves the young athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury. There is an increased risk of significant damage from a concussion for a period of time after that concussion occurs, particularly if the athlete suffers another concussion before completely recovering from the first one. This can lead to prolonged recovery, or even to severe brain swelling (second impact syndrome) with devastating and even fatal consequences. It is well known that adolescent or teenage athletes will often under report symptoms of injuries. Concussions are no different. As a result, education of administrators, coaches, parents and students is the key for student-athletes’ safety.
If you think your child/player has suffered a concussion
Any athlete even suspected of suffering a concussion should be removed from the game or practice immediately. No athlete may return to activity after an apparent head injury or concussion, regardless of how mild it seems or how quickly symptoms clear. Close observation of the athlete should continue for several hours.
An athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time and may not return to play until the athlete is evaluated by the schools’ certified athletic trainer and/or medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy that is specifically trained in the management of concussion. The athlete must receive written clearance to return to play from that health care provider and must have completed the FCHS concussion return to play progression as supervised by the athletic trainer. We follow a stepwise activity progression based on recommendation in the Zurich Consensus Statement from the 3rd International Congress on Concussion in Sports as follows:
Step 1: Light aerobic exercise (i.e. stationary bike, elliptical machine)
Step 2: Moderate aerobic exercise (begin running program)
Step 3: Functional exercises (increase running intensity, begin agilities, non-contact sport-specific drills)
Step 4: Non-contact practice activities
Step 5: Full contact practice activities.
Step 6: Full game play
Each step is separated by 24 hours. If any symptoms occur, the athlete will drop back to the previous level and try to progress again after 24 hours of rest has passed.
You should also inform your child’s Coach, Athletic Trainer (ATC), and/or Athletic Director, if you think that your child/player may have a concussion.
For current and up-to date information on concussions you can go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ConcussionYouthsSports/
Fluvanna County High School
Concussion Policy Acknowledgment Form
A concussion is a brain injury and all brain injuries are serious. They may be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or a blow to another part of the body with the force transmitted to the head. They can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Even though most concussions are mild, all concussions are potentially serious and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if not recognized and managed properly. In other words, even a “ding” or a bump on the head can be serious. You can’t see a concussion and most sports concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
Signs and symptoms of concussion may show up right after the injury or can take hours or days to fully appear. If your child/player reports any symptoms of concussion, or if you notice the symptoms or signs of concussion yourself, seek medical attention right away.
Symptoms may include one or more of the following:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double vision or changes in vision
- Sensitivity to light or sound/noise.
- Feeling of sluggishness or fogginess.
- Difficulty with concentration, short-term memory, and/or confusion.
- Irritability or agitation.
- Depression or anxiety.
- Sleep disturbance.
Signs observed by teammates, parents and coaches include:
- Appears dazed, stunned, or disoriented.
- Forgets plays or demonstrates short-term memory difficulties (e.g. is unsure of the game, score, or opponent)
- Exhibits difficulties with balance or coordination.
- Answers questions slowly or inaccurately.
- Loses consciousness.
- Demonstrates behavior or personality changes.
- Is unable to recall events prior to or after the hit.