KHS implements standard concussion policy

By on October 28, 2011

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland High School will implement a student athlete injury policy for concussions.

The School Board on Monday voted 7-0 to approve a concussion policy, including protocol for dealing with head injuries, while Kaneland High School waits for a formal policy to be provided by Policy Research Educational Subscription Service (PRESS).

According to a document from Superintendent Jeff Schuler, Public Act 97-0204 added language to the Illinois School Code regarding student athletes and concussions that will require students who have potentially sustained a concussion during athletic play to be checked out by a licensed physician or certified athletic trainer before they are permitted to return to the game.

According to the document provided by Schuler, athletic trainers are trained in the assessments of concussions and are able to determine whether or not a student is suffering from a concussion. The document also outlines the concept of baseline cognitive testing known as ImPACT Testing, which is done at the beginning of the season for all high-impact sports. ImPACT Testing is done for all student athletes, and gauges their attention span, problem solving, response variability, memory and reaction time. In the event a student athlete suffers a potential concussion, the ImPACT Test will be re-taken to measure cognitive capability. Participation in the high-impact sport is then prohibited until the student athlete’s ImPACT Test score returns to its original value.

Schuler’s document states that athletic trainers can also look for signs of a concussion through the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), Romberg’s, and neurological tests to identify if the head or neck has sustained an injury.

Students who re-enter athletic events too early after suffering a potential concussion will run the risk of suffering Second Impact Syndrome, which can cause permanent damage to the brain and even death in some instances.

“Keeping our children safe is the highest priority,” School Board President Cheryl Krauspe said. “An athletic trainer can’t be everywhere to make the judgment calls, so it’s important to have a standard policy in place.”

A concussion occurs when forceful contact to the head jars the brain. A person who suffers a concussion typically experiences headaches, disorientation, confusion, and in some instances, nausea, ringing in the ears, memory loss and loss of consciousness.
Concussions are prevalent in sports such as football, basketball, baseball, soccer and cheerleading, and are broken down into three grades. Grade 1 concussions involve some form of disorientation and symptoms that do not persist more than 15 minutes. Grade 2 concussions involve similar disorientation and symptoms that do persist longer than 15 minutes. Grade 3 concussions involve a loss of consciousness, regardless of the duration.