The Dobbs Ferry School District is implementing a comprehensive concussion management program for our student athletes as required by New York State law. The Commissioner of Education issued new regulations in July which includes strict guidelines for the management of concussions or even suspected concussions sustained by student athletes.
The software tool that we are using is called ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). ImPACT is a computerized exam utilized by many professional, collegiate and high school sports programs to successfully diagnose and manage concussions. If an athlete is believed to have suffered a head injury during competition, ImPACT is used to help determine the severity of the head injury and when the student is deemed medically ready to return to their full activity schedule. The computerized exam is given to athletes prior to their season of competition.
In September, we also administered the ImPACT test to all students in grades 7 – 12 as part of our routine health screening process. Students were given time to complete the ImPACT test during their regularly scheduled Physical Education classes. Since students can be injured at any time, both during the school day in P.E. for example or in extracurricular activities, the ImPACT test gives a baseline evaluation that can help gauge the student’s readiness to return to activities. Through this screening process we are also able to make any necessary adjustments to a student’s academic program while they are recovering. This non-invasive test is set up in “video-game” format and takes about 30 minutes to complete. It tracks information such as memory, reaction time, speed and concentration. It is not an IQ test.
If a concussion is suspected, the student athlete will be required to re-take the test. Both the preseason and post injury test data is given to our school medical director to help evaluate the injury. The student will also be required to see their licensed health care provider. The ImPACT data will enable these health care professionals to determine when it is safe for an athlete to return to play.
The procedures for an injured player include:
- The athlete is removed from play.
- Coach will complete the Dobbs Ferry concussion checklist.
- If the parent is not present, the coach will contact the parent and report the injury and inform them that they must contact the child’s pediatrician to be evaluated. The coach will also contact our school physician, school nurse and Athletic Director.
- As per ImPACT guidelines, the athlete will be out of play for a minimum of 7 days. Once medically cleared, the athlete will follow a “return-to-play” (RTP) protocol.
- ImPACT test will be re-administered in 3 days and prior to any “return to play.”
- The student must be cleared by their primary care physician and school physician.
- The school nurse will communicate with the Assistant Principals and Athletic Director to inform teachers of students who have sustained a concussion and of their RTP status.
The District will be providing on-going parent and student education programs about the seriousness of concussions. While concussions are not preventable, the best way to prevent difficulties with a concussion is to manage the injury properly when it does occur.