Concussions have become an injury on frontlines of the medical field for several reasons. Misconceptions, misdiagnosis, and impact on life after sports have all led to developing educational tools for coaches and parents. All coaches at The Hill School are required to take the NFHS concussion recognition certification. The Concussion Management Protocol is the guide that The Hill School uses to direct a prudent course of action.
There are several key components of our protocol:
Baseline Neurocognitive Testing - All students at The Hill School undergo baseline neurocognitive testing using the ImPact Concussion Program. This testing is done in the preseason and through the fall athletic schedule. Baseline scores yield an objective score when compared against post injury numbers.
Report of symptoms – No longer are concussions graded at time of injury. The duration and severity of symptoms is the greatest indicator of concussion “level”. These symptoms are closely monitored and documented. AT NO TIME ARE STUDENTS PROGRESSED TRHOUGH THE PROTOCOL WHILE SYMPTOMATIC. It is only upon cessation of symptoms that the student progresses. Often these symptoms are exacerbated by cognitive function and may require an adjustment of their academic schedule. This is directed by the Health Center provider.
Return to baseline score of ImPact – once the athlete has demonstrated they are asymptomatic and attained baseline scores on ImPact, they are able to move to the last step.
Exertion testing – Though students are asymptomatic at rest, physical activity can cause symptoms to return. The last step in our protocol is a graduated increase in exercise to observe this response. We begin with low level, general exercise and work to high level, sport specific tasks. Exertion testing is performed with the athletic trainer and takes three to five days.
*ALL CONCUSSED STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE THE RETURN TO PLAY PROTOCOL. EVEN WHEN OUTSIDE MEDICAL ADVICE IS TAKEN, THE ATHLETE WILL NOT RETURN TO SPORT UNTIL THESE STEPS ARE SATISFIED.