Concussion information and procedures
Understanding how head injuries can happen
A concussion can happen from a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull. A person can fall and hit their head on the ground, but a blow to the body could also result in a brain injury. For example, a person can be pushed very hard from behind, causing their head to jerk backward (like whiplash). This can cause a head injury or a concussion.
Signs and symptoms of a concussion
Signs and symptoms of a concussion can be subtle and may not be noticeable right away. Symptoms can last for days, weeks or even longer, and may include any of the following:
Procedures to be followed at school
There are very specific steps to be followed by school staff, students and parents in the event of a suspected or medically diagnosed concussion. If a suspicious injury to the head or body occurs, an assessment checklist is used to determine if any there are any concussion signs or symptoms. The checklist then illustrates which steps to follow next. Students with medically diagnosed concussions are documented as they move through the detailed time out periods.
The OCSB strongly suggests that all students with a suspected concussion seek professional medical attention. In cases of head or body trauma where the student was, for any time, unconscious, unresponsive or dazed, parents are required to seek medical treatment before the student can return to school. Only a medical doctor can diagnose a concussion.
Time out periods – "Return to learn" and "Return to physical activity"
The terms “return to learn” and “return to physical activity” are used to help identify and deal with concussions. Parents and school staff work closely together (using detailed charts and forms) to carefully track a student’s activities after a suspected or medically diagnosed concussion.
Return to learn: The injured student must reduce all mental and physical activities for at least 24 hours, in order to assess the severity of the injury. This is essential, since learning and memory difficulties may make it very difficult for the student to concentrate and recall learning during this period.
Return to physical activity: The injured student is removed from the possibility of re-injury (recess, gym class, sports) during the healing process. Even a small amount of physical activity may lead to a re-injury that can have serious and life-time permanent effects of brain injury.