(Adapted from the Oregon Concussion Awareness and Management Program)
School concussion management teams may be formed to create and implement a concussion management plan with sound procedures that support a concussed student. Suggestions for team members are as follows:
Empowering students to self-assess symptoms and report may be a challenge. Consider inviting an influential student-athlete to the team. Help create an atmosphere of acceptance for reporting suspected and diagnosed concussions, and encourage athletes to report a fellow athleteís symptoms.
Parents and guardians
Invite a parent leader to the team who could be influential with parent organizations that support athletics and gaining parental and community support for district policies.
Administrator support is needed to change the culture surrounding sports concussions, put systems in place to manage concussions effectively, and provide the programs necessary to return students to full activity (athletics and academics) safely.
School medical advisor
It is important that the school medical advisor is appropriately trained in the current knowledge about concussion.
Licensed health care professional
Student athletes who are suspected of or have a concussion must receive written clearance from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions to participate in supervised team activities.
The school nurse is the lead health and medical school staff member who works in conjunction with the athletic trainer (when available), athletic director, coaches, school faculty, counselors, and administrators, as well as the student-athleteís health care provider and family, in order to provide the best healing environment possible. In the case of a concussion, school nurses need to be able to recognize signs and symptoms, be aware of risks associated with recurrent injury, and make recommendations to student-athletes, parents, and school officials on proper care and recovery.
Physical education director/athletic director (AD)
The physical education or athletic directorís leadership is a crucial component of good concussion management. They can support coach/athlete/parent training, promote a culture of awareness, ensure the teaching of safe techniques and sportsmanship, ensure proper and well maintained equipment, monitor appropriate incident protocols, promote good officiating, and encourage effective tracking of injuries.
Certified athletic trainer (ATC)
Certified athletic trainers (ATCs) are medical experts in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. The ATC in a school environment works under the direction of a licensed physician, in collaboration with the school nurse and in cooperation with other health care professionals, athletic or physical education directors, coaches and parents.
Coaches play a key role in concussion management. They are responsible for pulling an athlete from competition or practice immediately after suspecting a concussion. Securing buy-in from the coaching staff is crucial to the safety of the athlete and to the success of the return to play protocol. Having a coach serve as the liaison between the school concussion management team and the other coaching staff can help ensure effective communication and understanding.
Teachers are critical to student success postconcussion. Teachers need to have a strong understanding of the potential cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and physical symptoms of a concussion. A school concussion management team representative from the teaching staff can work with the studentís teachers to ensure appropriate classroom accommodations.
The school counselor is the ideal lead staff person to inform teachers of needed learning accommodations while the student is symptomatic. They can provide information needed for making decisions about return to activity, can work with the studentís teachers to ensure appropriate classroom accommodations, and can refer the student to more formalized supports such as 504 plans or Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
School psychologists can help with assessment and test results interpretation.
Adapted from Oregon Concussion Awareness and Management Program. Maxís Law: Concussion Management Implementation Guide for School Administrators.