The recognition and treatment of athletes who have suffered a concussion has become a local, state, and national priority, as well as a priority for The Williams School Athletic Department. An increasing number of studies have revealed that concussions, if not properly treated, can result in permanent physical and cognitive deficits, including learning differences.
Recovery from a concussion requires limitation of physical activity, especially sports activity such as practice, drills, games, and physical education classes. In significantly symptomatic athletes, mental activity should also be limited cognitively to allow the brain time to heal.
To better manage instances of concussion in our athletic program, The Williams School requires the following:
1. All coaches must complete annual training in the area of current concussion management practices and provide proof of that training to the School’s Athletic Director. This training should include up-to-date information on the identification of concussion, the signs and symptoms associated with the injury, the risks involved with allowing athletes to continue to play while symptomatic, methods of concussion assessment, and the importance of gradual return to play practices.
2. Information about sports-related concussions will be provided to parents annually via the School’s website. Additionally, literature will be sent home, and parents will be asked to return signed acknowledgement prior to their child(ren) being allowed to participate in any school-sponsored sport activity. These acknowledgement forms will be updated annually and kept by the School’s Athletic Office for a period no shorter than seven (7) years.
3. Prior to the start of every sports season, parents will receive a copy of The Williams School’s Concussion Management Policy & Plan. This document details the risks of concussion in sports and helps educate on how to identify the signs and symptoms associated with the injury, along with the potential risks involved with playing while symptomatic.
4. Prior to the start of every sports season, the Athletic Trainer will work with coaches to re-educate about concussions, signs and symptoms, and potential long-term risks.
5. All student-athletes will take a baseline cognitive test (ImPACT) at the beginning of their sports season.
6. If, during a practice or game, an athlete sustains a concussion or exhibits the signs, symptoms, or behaviors of the injury, that athlete must be removed from all athletic activity as expressed by Connecticut State Law. That athlete may not return to any practice or game activity until he/she is evaluated by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussion (i.e., physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or athletic trainer). The athlete must provide written clearance from that provider prior to the athlete being allowed to resume physical activity. The school’s athletic trainer will keep evidence of all written clearance forms on file for a period no shorter than seven years. Once the athlete receives written medical clearance to return to physical activity the Athletic Trainer, Emily McNally, will follow a gradual return to play progression.