Concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary but can include headaches and problems with concentration, memory, balance and coordination.

Although concussions usually are caused by a blow to the head, they can also occur when the head and upper body are violently shaken. These injuries can cause a loss of consciousness, but most concussions do not. Because of this, some people have concussions and don't realize it.

Concussions are common, particularly if you play a contact sport. But every concussion injures your brain to some extent. This injury needs time and rest to heal properly. Most concussive traumatic brain injuries are mild, and people usually recover fully. However, for some people, symptoms may last for months or longer and can lead to short- and long-term problems affecting how they think, act, learn, and feel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center has developed the public health response to concussion. Through the HEADS UP campaign, concussion educational materials are available at no cost for youth sports coaches, school coaches, parents, athletes, and school and health care professionals.

Concussion Recognition and Management in High School Sports

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) teamed up with CDC's HEADS UP to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports.

The course provides information about the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes, how to recognize a suspected concussion, and protocols to manage a suspected concussion with steps to help players return to play safely after a concussion. http://nfhslearn.com/courses/61037/concussion-in-sports

Each state's requirements for concussion management are included as part of the course.

Illinois Youth Sports Concussion Act (Public Act 099-0245)

Public Act 099-0245 focuses primarily on concussion management at the middle school/junior high school and high school levels. The legislation amends the School Code and is a requirement for all schools.

  • Each school board in the state of Illinois is required to adopt a policy regarding student athlete concussions and head injuries that is in compliance with the protocols, policies, and by-laws developed by the Illinois High School Association.
  • Each school district must use education materials provided by the Illinois High School Association to educate coaches, student-athletes, and parents/guardians of student-athletes about the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries, including continuing play after a concussion or head injury.
  • All public, private, or charter schools must convene a Concussion Oversight Teams (COT). The COT’s primary function will be to develop return-to-play and return-to-learn protocols for students believed to have experienced a concussion. The protocols should be based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence consistent with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. These teams can contain a range of individuals based on the resources available to the school in their community or neighborhood but must include one person who is responsible for implementing and complying with the return-to-play and return-to-learn protocols.
  • No later than September 1, 2016, all interscholastic coaches and licensed officials will need to complete a training program of at least two hours on concussions. Coaches, nurses, and game officials must provide the school or district with proof of successful completion of the training. Training must be completed every two years. Head coaches and assistant coaches must complete the required training as well as members of a school/district’s COT.

Public, Private, and Charter schools must also develop a school-specific emergency action plan for interscholastic athletic activities to address the serious injuries and acute medical conditions in which the condition of the student may deteriorate rapidly. There are certain provisions the plan must include and it must be reviewed by the COT before being approved by the school. The plan must be distributed to appropriate personnel, posted at the school, and reviewed annually.