NEWS FROM DISTRICT 214
For Immediate Release
June 2, 2010
District 214 Institutes New Head Injury Care Guidelines
and "Return To Play" Protocol
Contact: Hal Hilmer (JHHS), 847-718-4957; Matt Guth (PHS), 847-718-5403; Rocco Tieri (WHS), 847-718-7136
Township High School District 214 has recently approved a new set of guidelines for the monitoring and safe handling of student athletes suffering from head injuries and/or concussions. "Head Injury Care Guidelines and Return To Play Protocol," designed and implemented by all District 214 athletic trainers, was adopted by the district on May 21.
According to Matt Guth , head athletic trainer at Prospect High School, "These guidelines define a step-by-step approach to safely return an athlete to activity as recommended by the most current research in the field."
Rocco Tieri , head athletic trainer at Wheeling High School, added, "Dealing with head injuries is often difficult because the athlete may seem all right. Many schools in the area use the same procedures but do not have a policy in place. This new policy gives the district athletic trainers the tools to manage the care of their athletes."
When an athlete sustains a head injury, the new District 214 guidelines begin with the observation of signs by a coach or parent, such as confusion or forgetfulness, clumsy movement, behavior or personality changes, or loss of consciousness, however brief. An athlete may report sensitivity to light or sound, headache, dizziness or sluggishness, double vision, nausea, ringing in the ears, concentration or memory problems, or a change in sleep patterns. If any of these signs are noticed, the athlete will not be able to return to play and an additional evaluation will be performed, following the emergency action plan as stipulated by the National Athletic Trainers' Association.
If no athletic trainer is available, the athlete will not be allowed to return to practice or play. The presiding coach will determine if 911 should be called, and will call the student's parents immediately. When 911 is called, an athletic administrator will also be notified. The player will not be left alone and must be monitored for a change in condition over the next several hours. The athletic trainer and/or team physician will then determine the disposition of the case.
Before returning to any physical activity, the athlete must be cleared by the medical care team. Cognitive rest such as limiting TV viewing, video games, and texting is recommended during this period. An evaluation of the athlete's post-injury status will be determined by a certified athletic trainer, using the ImPACT neurocognitive screening tool. (See http://www.impacttest.com for more information). The ImPACT test will be administered 24-72 hours after the injury, then again in five days if symptoms are still reported. If the athlete is symptom-free, the ImPACT test will be repeated, with comparisons made to baseline scores and all results reported to coaches and parents. When the player is symptom-free and able to resume activity, a prescribed sequence of steps must follow: light aerobic exercise is encouraged to increase heart rate and cranial blood pressure; moderate to heavy cardio and sport/specific drills will next be permitted; then, light contact with no head impact activities; and finally, full participation/full contact. The athlete will be cleared to play with no restrictions if no symptoms return.
Commented head athletic trainer at John Hersey High School, Hal Hilmer , "As athletic trainers, we hope to educate coaches, parents and athletes in better understanding how to care for these unseen head injuries and concussions. Being one of the first schools in the state of Illinois to create such guidelines, we hope this will continue to make our athletic programs as safe as they can be and spur other schools in the state to set up their own guidelines for the management of head injuries and concussions."
Other District 214 head athletic trainers are Thomas Sullivan (Buffalo Grove High School), Stacy Strama (Elk Grove High School), and Scott Sauer (Rolling Meadows High School).
More information download: WHS concussion policy