The Midlakes Athletics Department has partnered with the New York State Athletic Administrators Association and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association to educate our coaches, physical education teachers, school nurse teachers, student-athletes, parents, and school physicians about the latest news in concussion management policies and procedures. For more information, contact John Lombardi, director of Health, Physical Education, & Athletics, at (315) 548-6450, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The long-term risks and consequences of repeated head injuries and the guidelines established by the state have caused the district to re-address our return-to-play protocol following concussions. Where previously, the school district would accept a private physician's medical clearance for an immediate return to practice and competition, now the physician’s clearance is one part of several measures used to determine a student’s readiness to return.
These protocols were developed in with the school’s athletic trainer, physician assistant, district physician, and the New York State Public High School Athletic Association return to play protocol. These protocols are based upon the latest international recommendations for management of head injuries and have been approved by the district administration and adopted as best practice by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and by Section V Athletics.
If a student receives any type of head injury during an athletic practice or contest they will not be allowed to resume the activity that day. The student must be medically cleared by a private physician and remain completely symptom-free for at least 24 hours before a return-to-play is allowed when a head injury is diagnosed as a concussion. Even then, there is a mandatory six-day graduated return-to-play schedule that must be followed.
If symptoms return at any point during this re-training period, the process is suspended, and the student must be symptom-free again for 24 hours, at which time, the graduated re-entry plan starts over.
This protocol applies to mild concussions which are the first for an athlete. More serious concussions, for example, if there is any loss of consciousness, and subsequent concussions carry more risk and require a longer process. In these cases, the protocol will be individualized and determined by the athletic trainer, private physician and school physician working together.
All final decisions about clearance for school athletics will be determined by the school physician.
No day may be skipped to speed up the process of full return-to-play. No exceptions will be made to this re-entry process for any reason because the risks are too great. Medical literature has demonstrated a repeat of even a minor blow to the head of a previously injured child who is not fully recovered can lead to permanent brain damage and even death. Because there is no way to know whether a headache, nausea, confusion, memory issues, and similar symptoms that persist are related to either post-concussion symptoms or to an inter-current illness, such as sinusitis, the "flu", or other conditions, the school district in conjunctions with its partners have made the deliberate decision to err on the side of caution, because the health of the student is the ultimate goal.
This protocol is designed to ensure the health and safety of the student-athlete. Assistance and cooperation in educating the student-athlete in the importance of following a graduated re-entry to play following a head injury are appreciated.
This protocol begins after a 24-hour symptom-free period and private medical release. Any return of symptoms re-starts the protocol from the beginning.
Day 1: Light aerobic exercise (ie. stationary bike)
Day 2: Sport specific exercise (running without contact), no resistance training
Day 3: Supervised low resistance training with spotting
Day 4: Non-contact training drills
Day 5: Full-contact training
Day 6: Return to play
Find more Information
- New York State Department of Health: Traumatic Brain Injury
- New York State Department of Education: Guidelines for Concussion Management in Schools
- New York State Public High School Athletic Association: Student and Parent Information Sheet
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Heads UP Concussion in Youth Sports