How To Prevent Concussion And Support A Student’s Return To School
As with any health and safety issue, implementing policies and procedures related to concussion is an important step to create safe and supportive environments. This type of environment decreases the likelihood of a concussion happening at school and supports a student’s return to school.
The Comprehensive School Health Framework, which uses a holistic approach to integrate health and education into school practices, can be beneficial for concussion policy development. This model encompasses the whole school environment with actions in four distinct but interrelated pillars.
The “Policy” pillar refers to provincial, district, school, or classroom policies, rules, procedures, and codes of conduct at all levels that help create and maintain a safe and healthy school environment.
Key elements of policies that support concussion prevention and management include those that support:
- Adequate supervision of students during physical activities, like recess and lunch time activities.
- Students wearing appropriate sporting equipment, like footwear that can help protect the student from falling and sustaining a concussion, or helmets, which do not prevent concussions but can mitigate the severity of injury.
- The response to concussion incidents that happen at school such as a concussion response protocol or procedure. This would be similar to or become part of an existing policy on responding to a student who is ill or injured at school.
- A student’s return to school following a concussion including return to school planning, documentation, and communication. For example, incorporating the return to school planning and protocol outlined in our course for School Professionals.
- Education of school personnel, including teachers, administrators, and support staff, including professional days and information sessions. This could include ensuring that teachers and administrators complete the online education module for School Professionals.
- Concussion awareness and prevention strategies such as parent handouts, school newsletters, and websites.
- Safe school environments such as the BC Safe, Caring, and Orderly Schools guide.
To help in the development of strategies including policies and procedures, examples of programs in other school jurisdictions are available in the Resourcessection.
For more information on developing policies related to concussion, take the online educational module for School Professionals.