The Halton District School Board has updated its Concussion Prevention, Identification and Management Administrative Procedure (2020).
The Halton District School Board and parents/guardians are key partners in the health and safety of our students and as such there are key components parents/guardians will need to be aware of regarding the preventative and responsive measures for the identification and management of concussions.
Parents/Guardians, students and staff all play a role in the prevention of concussion. The HDSB Concussion Prevention, Awareness Resources and Concussion Codes of Conduct module comprises the annual awareness training for each of these groups. These modules detail the definition, signs and symptoms of a concussion, as well as the prevention, identification and management of a concussion. The Concussion Codes of Conduct prioritize the following as key actions in the prevention of concussions:
- Maintaining a safe learning environment
- Fair play and respect for all
- Learning the rules of the physical activity
- Implementing the skills and strategies in proper progression
- Open communication about concerns and risks
- Concussion recognition and reporting
Staff and students complete their specific training and learning as part of annual awareness training at school. Parents/guardians are expected to review the following annually:
- HDSB Parent/Guardian Concussion Prevention, Awareness Resources and Code of Conduct ( coming soon)
Signed acknowledgement of the review of these is indicated through the Physical Education and Intramurals Information Letter and Acknowledgement of Risk, Consent to Participate and Medical Information Form, completed at the start of every school year.
Parents/guardians of students participating in interschool athletics are also required to provide signed acknowledgement on the HDSB Interschool Athletics Package prior to the beginning of each specific sports season.
Background & Context
The Ontario government enacted Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, and amended the Education Act, to protect amateur athletes, including students, by improving concussion safety on the field and at school. The amendments to the Education Act gave the Minister of Education the authority to require school boards to comply with policy and guidelines on concussions, consistent with Rowan’s Law. With the authority under the Education Act, the Minister of Education requires all school boards in Ontario to have a policy on concussion safety for students that meets certain minimum requirements, as outlined in the updated Policy/Program Memorandum No. 158: School Board Policies on Concussion (2019).
Research indicates that a concussion can have a significant impact on a student’s cognitive and physical abilities. In fact, research shows that activities that require concentration can cause a student’s concussion symptoms to reappear or worsen. It is equally important to develop strategies to assist students as they “return to school” in the classroom, as it is to develop strategies to assist them as they “return to physical activity”. The most recent research now indicates that prolonged rest until all symptoms resolve is no longer recommended. Without addressing identification and proper management, a concussion can result in permanent brain damage and in rare occasions, even death.
Research also suggests that a student who suffers a second concussion before they are symptom free from the first concussion is susceptible to a prolonged period of recovery, and possibly Second Impact Syndrome (a rare condition that causes rapid and severe brain swelling and often catastrophic results).
Due to the seriousness of a concussion, school administrators, educators (including occasional teachers), school staff, students, parents/guardians, and identified school volunteers all have important roles to play in implementing the school board’s concussion protocols, that is prevention, identification, and ongoing monitoring and management of a student with a concussion.
Concussions while at school
Students who receive a jarring impact to the head, face, neck, or body that transmits a force to the head that causes the brain to move rapidly within the skull will not always show symptoms immediately. Students will be assessed at school for signs and symptoms of a concussion. Parents/guardians will be contacted and provided with a Suspected Concussion Form indicating the initial assessment of the student and the next steps to occur. This form must be completed and returned to the school following either the medical examination or 24 hour monitoring.
Note: Students who show signs or symptoms of concussion MUST be examined by a physician or nurse practitioner.
If at the time of injury there are no signs or symptoms, students must be monitored for a minimum of 24 hours at home. Students will not be permitted to participate in any physical activity until the 24 hours has passed and no signs or symptoms have been observed. During this 24 hour monitoring phase, if signs or symptoms appear, the student MUST be seen by a physician or nurse practitioner.
Concussions outside of school
Students who have a suspected or diagnosed concussion outside of school hours or school events are also required to follow the steps as outlined in the HDSB Concussion Prevention, Identification and Management Administrative Procedure. Parents should inform the school as soon as possible after a suspected or diagnosed concussion to initiate this plan with school staff.
Home and School Management Plan
When a student has had a concussion diagnosed by a physician or nurse practitioner, the Home and School Management Plan is used collaboratively between home and school to monitor and respond to the student's progress through recovery. The Home and School Management Plan (Part A) outlines the permissible cognitive and physical activities in each stage, without worsening or triggering new signs and symptoms, in order to progress to the next stage of the plan. The Home and School Management Plan (Part B) is used by parents/guardians and school staff to monitor and track the completion of each stage of the process.
Concussion Medical Clearance
Prior to returning to full participation in physical activity including curricular, intramural and interschool activities in Stage 5 of the Home and School Management Plan, the Concussion Medical Clearance Form must be signed by a physician or nurse practitioner. If at any time symptoms reappear following this form being signed by a physician or nurse practitioner, the student must seek a medical re-examination for a concussion and/or Second Impact Syndrome and a re-assessment of the Concussion Medical Clearance.
Concussion Documents and Forms
Additional concussion resourcesConsensus statement on concussion in sport
: The 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016