Concussion Policy Reviewed Again at School Board

Superintendent of Schools Nathan Greenberg answered questions that school board members had raised when the official policy presentation on concussions was made by Athletic Director Howard Sobolov and Athletic Trainer Michelle Hart-Miller the previous month.

In October of 2012, the school district made changes to its head injury policy that would require parents and students to take a free online course to learn about the dangers and possibilities of head injuries. The policy upgrade said a student could not participate in a sport until the course was completed.
Hart-Miller said students would be taking a test and that test would be used as a “baseline,” so if a concussion occurred, the student would be tested again and the results matched to the baseline results to determine the level of injury.
School Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks had asked Greenberg to clarify issues for the board on the policy.
At the Tuesday, Oct. 8 board meeting, Greenberg said, “The implementation of the new protocol for concussion injuries starting in the fall and winter will be that all students – athletes and families both – will have to complete the CDC (federal Centers for Disease Control) online course, which is stated in the district policy, and they will need to print a certificate of completion and turn it in to the athletic office prior to tryouts.”
Hendricks said the board was under the impression that was not happening.
“That did not occur, but this is exactly what is going to happen,” Greenberg said.
Board member John Robinson asked if there wasn’t also a question on how many concussions had been reported and how many student athletes had more than one concussion in a year.
“Last year we had a total of 62 students that presented with concussion-like symptoms,” Greenberg said. “Thirty-eight were males and 29 were females. Breakout by sport is football had 22, soccer had 11, field hockey 2, ice hockey 2, volleyball 2, cheerleading 6, wrestling 3, basketball 4, swimming 1, lacrosse 8, track and field 1, softball 3, gymnastics 1, and there was only one student that was a repeat.”
Greenberg noted that the district is “extremely conservative” in the way the subject is approach-ed: “as long as a kid presents a symptom, we run them through the program,” he said.
Hendricks asked Greenberg how many concussions a student has to have received before he or she was not allowed to return to the sport.
Greenberg said no student returns to play without a physician’s note allowing play to resume, and given the nature, duration and severity of each case, it could be one or more (concussions).
“The child and the parents go through the concussion protocol per the policy, and the child can’t come back until they go through that protocol, which includes the doctor note,” Greenberg said.
He said that in the past he has had discussions with a child’s neurologist “so we get medical clearance first.”
Board member Leitha Reilly asked if testing of all athletes was required and Greenberg said it was and it was done to establish the baseline per student.
There is no charge to the families or students for completing the protocol.
Board member Steve Young said he knew of a family whose child had two concussions and the student no longer plays sports but takes part in other academic and extracurricular activity.
“I think that it’s a good thing that families are involved in bringing up their children. We can give the tools but the family has to be involved in it,” Young said.

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