Commonwealth School Concussion Policy

Commonwealth School Concussion/Head Injury Policy
Enacted January 2013
Policy to Commence March 1, 2013

The Commonwealth School seeks to prevent concussions and provide a safe return to activity for all students after an injury, particularly after a head injury. In order to effectively and consistently manage these injuries, the Commonwealth School has created procedures to educate the school community and prevent and treat head injures.

The Commonwealth School has designated its Athletic Director to oversee the implementation of policies and protocols governing the prevention and management of sports-related head injuries. In addition, the Athletic Director will be responsible for:

  1. Supporting and enforcing the protocols, documentation, required training and reporting.
  2. Assuring that all documentation is in place.

3.Reviewing, updating and implementing the policy every two years.

Annual Training Requirement

Commonwealth School believes that when it comes to concussions, everyone should be aware of the potential dangers and remember that a concussion is a brain injury. The goal of this policy is to ensure that whenever anyone in the school community has a doubt about a student athlete with a brain injury, they will follow the “when in doubt, sit them out” philosophy and recommend that the student see a healthcare professional.

To meet this goal, the Commonwealth School requires that specific school personnel be trained annually about concussions. On a yearly basis the Athletic Director, coaches (paid and volunteer), and athletic trainers must complete one of the following free online courses:

  1. “Concussion in Sports: What You Need to Know” offered through the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

  1. “Heads Up Concussion In Youth Sports” Offered through the Centers for Disease Control

Educational materials about head injuries and concussions will be posted on the school website so the school community will:

  • Understand a concussion and the potential consequences of this injury,
  • Recognize concussion signs and symptoms and how to respond,
  • Learn about steps for returning to activity (play and school) after a concussion, and
  • Focus on prevention and preparedness to help keep athletes safe season-to-season.

Link to the Commonwealth webpage about concussions:

Pre-Participation Head Injury Reporting Forms

All students/parents must provide a history of head injury to the school before the beginning of every school year. This is accomplished through the completion and submission of the “Pre-Participation Head Injury/Concussion Reporting Form for Extracurricular Activities.” Students will not be allowed to participate in athletics until a completed form is submitted.

History of Multiple Concussions on Pre-participation Form:

The decision to allow a player who reported a history of multiple concussions on her/his pre-participation form should be made only after consultation with the student’s physician or primary care provider; the sports medicine or concussion specialist, if involved; the neuropsychologist, if involved; the appropriate school staff, and the parent. Current evidence indicates that youth who have suffered one or more concussions are more likely to suffer a subsequent one. Options may include switching positions, limiting contact in practices, or changing sports altogether to minimize the risk of re-injury. The focus of the Commonwealth School will always be on protecting the health and safety of the student and avoiding long-term consequences that can occur from repeated concussions.

Identifying Head Injury or Suspected Head Injury and Removing from Play

If a student athlete receives a blow to the head and any signs or symptoms are present – or if the student is suspected of having a head injury – the coach or athletic trainer must remove the student from play/practice and the student will not return to play/practice that day. The coach or athletic trainer will:

  1. Notify parents/legal guardians and refer them, if appropriate, to visit a primary care physician or if unavailable, emergency room.
  2. Complete the “Report of Head Injury During Sports Season” form and send copy of a symptom checklist with the student for review by parent and/or medical personnel.

Medical Clearance for Return to Play

If it is determined that an athlete has a concussion or suspected concussion, he/she will be out of competition until he/she can be cleared for participation by a physician. Each student will need to submit a completed “Post Sports-Related Head Injury Medical Clearance and Authorization Form” in order to participate in the school’s athletics program.

No player shall go from being sidelined with a concussion to full play until he/she has followed the recommended stepwise process from the treating physician regarding return to full academic and extracurricular athletic activities. Each athlete will likely have his/her own course of recovery, which may depend upon prior medical history of concussion. This plan shall include instructions for students, parent(s) and school personnel addressing physical and cognitive rest and graduated return to academics and athletics.

Progression of return to play should follow:

Test 1: (30% to 40% maximum exertion): Low levels of light physical activity.

Test 2: (40% to 60% maximum exertion): Moderate levels of physical activity. Treadmill jogging, stationary bike, or elliptical for 20 to 25 minutes.

Test 3: (60% to 80% maximum exertion). Non-contact sports specific drills. Running, high intensity stationary bike or elliptical 25 to 30 minutes. Completing regular weight training.

Test 4: (80% maximum exertion). Limited, controlled sports specific practice and drills.

Test 5: Full contact and return to sport with monitoring of symptoms.

The Commonwealth School takes the safety of student athletes seriously. All members of the school staff are expected to follow these policies and protocols to support the health and safety of student athletes. The underlying philosophy of these policies is “when in doubt, sit them out”. Failure to comply with the letter or spirit of these policies could result in progressive discipline for staff and/or forfeiture of games. If students or parents have concerns that the policies are being violated, they should contact the Headmaster.

Portions of this policy were copied from sample documents located on the website:

Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS): Sports Related Concussions and Head Injuries

Center for Disease Control: Heads Up Online Concussion Training