Administrative Procedure 314

CONCUSSIONS

Background

Westwind School Division is committed to the health, safety and overall well-being of its students and staff. Students and staff who are supported in a healthy environment are better able to fulfill the division education goals.

Research demonstrates that a concussion can have a significant impact on a student – cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially. A concussion may be caused by a blow to the head, face or neck that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull. A concussion can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness. Awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion and knowledge of how to properly manage a diagnosed concussion is critical in a student's recovery and is essential in helping to prevent the student from returning to learning or physical activities too soon, risking further complications.

The components of this Administrative Procedure (AP) includes:

  • strategies to develop an awareness of the seriousness of concussions;
  • strategies for the prevention and identification of concussions;
  • management procedures for diagnosed concussions; and
  • training for school staff

Definitions

Concussion: 

  • brain injury that causes changes in how the brain functions, leading to symptoms that can be physical (e.g. headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g. difficulty concentrating or remembering), emotional/behavioural (e.g. depression, irritability) and/or related to sleep (e.g. drowsiness, difficulty falling asleep);
  • may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face or neck, or a blow to the body that transmits a force to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull;
  • can occur even if there has been no loss of consciousness (in fact most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness); and,
  • cannot normally be seen on X-rays, standard CT scans or MRIs.
     

Note: It should be noted that if an individual suffers a second concussion before he or she is free from symptoms sustained from the first concussion, it may lead to “Second Impact Syndrome.” “Second Impact Syndrome” is a rare condition that causes rapid and severe brain swelling and possibly death.

School Staff:  school staff includes administration staff, teaching staff, support staff, coaches, volunteers, etc. who are responsible for supervising student activities.

Procedures

  1. Prevention and Minimizing the Risk of Concussions: 
    1. All staff and volunteers will take a preventative approach when dealing with concussions.
      1. Participants will be provided with concussion-related information prior to participation in extra-curricular activities.

  2. Responsibilities
    1. Superintendent or designate will:
      1. Ensure that this AP and supporting documentation, including concussion prevention, identification and management information is current and available on the division website. 

    2. Principal will:
      1. Oversee that the student’s registration records are complete and reviewed prior to student participation in any physical activity, physical education class, off-site activity, school intramural program, or interschool program.
      2. Ensure staff, volunteers, parents/guardians, and students are aware of this AP for Concussions and understand their roles and responsibilities
      3. Distribute to parents the following information annually
        1. Concussion Recognition Tool
        2. Concussion Guidelines for Parents
        3. Parent Guide to Dealing with Concussions
      4. Ensure this AP is followed by all school staff (including substitute staff/support staff, recess supervisors), parents/guardians, students, and volunteers.
      5. Facilitate the completion of concussion training modules through the Alberta Schools' Athletic Association by staff and coaching volunteers, and repeat as necessary.
      6. In the event of an incident involving head trauma:
        1. Ensure that all incidents are documented and reported as required by this AP.
        2. Prior to students return to school, ensure that a doctor's note clearing the student for a return to full activity is provided.
        3. Alert appropriate staff about students with a suspected or diagnosed concussion.
        4. Work as closely as possible with students, parents/guardians, staff, volunteers, and health professionals to support concussed students with their recovery and academic success.
      7. For students who are experiencing difficulty in their learning environment as a result of a concussion, coordinate the development of an IPP.
      8. Attempt to obtain parental/guardian cooperation in reporting all non-school related concussions.

    3. School Staff will:
      1. Understand and follow this AP for Concussion.
      2. Complete concussion training modules as assigned
      3. Ensure that the ASBIE Off-site Guidelines and Procedures Manual is being followed and implement risk management and injury prevention strategies specific to each sport/activity.
      4. Be able to recognize signs, symptoms and respond appropriately in the event of a suspected concussion.
      5. Be familiar with the resources:
        1. Concussion Guidelines for Teachers
        2. Concussion Guidelines for Coaches
        3. Concussion Recognition Tool
      6. If a concussion is suspected:
        1. Send Concussion Recognition Tool information home to parent/guardian.
      7. When a student concussion has occurred
        1. Fill out the Student Incident Report. Provide parents with Concussion Information.
        2. This should be done in conjunction with the school principal.

    4. In addition to the above, coaches, whether school staff or community volunteers, will:
      1. Ensure the Acknowledgement of Risk and Informed Consent Form has been adequately administered and signed by parents where required, for each athletic season, prior to students participating in Interschool Athletics.
      2. Provide the following resources to parents and students as educational and treatment information as required:
        1. Concussion Guidelines for Athletes
        2. Concussion Recognition Tool
        3. Concussion Guidelines for Parents
        4. Parent Guide to Dealing with Concussions

    5. Parents/Guardians will be expected to:
      1. Reinforce concussion prevention strategies with their child (e.g. following rules of fair play, playground safety rules, wearing properly fitted helmets, using equipment safely).
      2. Understand and follow parent/guardian roles and responsibilities in this AP.
      3. In the event of a suspected concussion:
        1. Ensure child is assessed as soon as possible by a medical doctor.
        2. Be responsible for the completion of all required documentation.
        3. Collaborate with the school to manage suspected or diagnosed concussions.
        4. Follow physician recommendations to promote recovery.
      4. Cooperate with the school to facilitate concussion diagnosis and treatment.
      5. Report any non-school related concussion to the principal.

    6. Students will be expected to:
      1. Learn about concussions, including prevention strategies, signs and symptoms, concussion management and student roles and responsibilities, through the applicable curriculum, and safety lessons connected to personal safety and injury prevention.
      2. Immediately inform school staff of suspected or diagnosed concussions occurring during or outside of school.
      3. Inform school staff if they experience any concussion-related symptoms (immediate, delayed or reoccurring).
      4. Remain on school premises until parent/guardian arrives if a concussion is suspected.
      5. Follow concussion management strategies as per medical doctor direction.
      6. Communicate concerns and challenges during the recovery process with school lead, school staff, parents/guardians, and health care providers.

 

Reference

Section 31,32,33,52,53,196,197,204,222,225 Education Act

Alberta School Boards’ Insurance Exchange (ASBIE) Bulletin July 2016 – Concussion Incidents
ASBIE Off-Site Guidelines and Procedures Manual

Approved: August 7, 2019
 

Appendix

Concussion Guidelines for the Athlete

Concussion Guidelines for Coaches & Trainers

Concussion Guidelines for Teachers

Concussion Guidelines for Parents & Caregivers

A Parent’s Guide to Dealing with Concussions

Pocket Concussion Recognition Tool

Acknowledgement of Risk and Informed Consent Form

Student Incident Report