The reality of concussions
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Every year high schools all across the country face the reality of students suffering from concussions. To change the way concussions are treated and to accommodate to concussed students’ needs, the state of Illinois passed the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act last year. This new law is affecting the way student athletes are cared for and the concussion protocol after diagnosis.
From Riverside Brookfield high school’s training room standpoint, the protocols were already up to date. As for the school the school standpoint, there were some changes that needed to be made.
“For us, the new law only affected the school side of things, the athletic side was already taken care of,” said William Frey, an athletic trainer at RB.
The law states that the school must now provide accommodations for any student who is suffering from a concussion, not just athletes. Some of these accommodations include extended time on tests and assignments.
“The counselor would share the doctor recommended accommodations with the teacher,”said Beth Augustine, the RB director of Student Services.
However, the amount of concussed athletes at RB this year has remained constant. The sports that put athletes at the highest risk of concussions are Football, Soccer, and Water Polo.
To determine if a student is suffering from a concussion the student goes through a Neurocognitive computerized test called Impact. Impact is the most used program by professional and college teams.
At RB, all athletes take the test when they are symptom-free. When athletes begin to show signs of a concussion they take the test until they pass and then begin a four to five day waiting period. If they do not show any concussion-like symptoms they are free to return to sports.
“We’ve been very very proactive with regards to concussions,” said Frey.
Not only do things change for students as an athlete, but in the classroom as well. Once a student is concussed, the counselor has to send a form to the teacher stating what the accommodations are.
“We would have to receive a note from a doctor indicating that due to the student’s concussion and the physical symptoms they are experiencing, that it could impact them academically. We give a list of options that would be accommodations or modifications to the student’s school day,” said Augustine.