An Overview of the Concussion Protocol and Return to Learn Process at Dallas Jesuit.
What is a concussion?
Per the CDC – National Center for Injury Prevention, “A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.”
*Every student and injury has different prognoses, plans, and expectations. None of the guidelines on any document/website/email should be received as universally applicable.
Priorities (in order of importance):
- Health of the student and medical treatment
- Return to Play/Learn protocol
Goals of Concussion Protocol and Return to Learn:
- Support all aspects of a student’s health.
- Prioritizing health and healing over everything else. Making sure physician appointments are prioritized over participation in school day activities, classes, etc.
- Support any recommendations and/or requests from the physicians and trainers.
- Ensure the learning momentum is maintained while also balancing the absences and/or accommodations.
- Support the teachers and counselors by providing information and recommendations.
- An open communication line between physician, families, teachers, and students.
Ben Kirby, Ph.D. - Assistant Principal for Student Academics
- In coordination with the Training Office, oversees the Concussion Protocol and Return to Learn Process
Mr. Rick Martin - Head Trainer at Jesuit Dallas
- Oversees the Training Office and maintains relationships with local specialists.
What is the difference between the Concussion Protocol and Return to Learn:
The Concussion Protocol incorporates the medical expectations set forth by the training staff and physician(s). Within the Concussion Protocol is the Return to Learn process. The RTL is primarily focused on the process of the student returning to the classroom and engaging in academic work.
All students who are suspected to have a TBI (based on the injury and/or symptoms) are immediately removed from play and class. Students are either evaluated on/in the field and, when deemed appropriate by the training staff, recommended to visit a concussion specialist.
All students suspected of having a concussion must have an evaluation by a physician before beginning the Return to Play/Learn protocol. There are no exceptions. Jesuit recommends injured students get evaluated by a concussion specialist and provides families with a list of concussion specialists in the area.
Specialist recommendations are provided by our Jesuit Training staff. Please contact Mr. Rick Martin, Head Trainer, at 972-387-8700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jesuit aims to follow the physician recommendations in all aspects (academic, physical, social, technology, etc.) without exception.
Return to Learn is initiated once the physician clears the student for high cognitive demands, exposure to technology/light, and full day engagement.
Teachers are informed immediately upon learning of the TBI. They are requested to hold all academic work and provide accommodations in the classroom until notified by the administration. This includes, but is not limited to, the following: not expecting homework/classwork; rescheduling or excusing of assessments; pre-approval to leave class early; and, permission to obtain notes from peers and teachers. Grade level counselors and Learning Services are also informed and help schedule/calendar any work that is missed to ensure there is no lost opportunity to learn and be successful upon full clearance. Students should visit with their counselor immediately upon returning to school to begin the process of scheduling work.
Teacher Professional Development and Support:
Annual review during in-service (teachers, coaches, and staff). All staff, faculty, and coaches are (re)informed on the diagnosis, prognoses, and protocols.
Full transparency of protocol progress. Teachers and coaches are provided updates by the trainers, counselors, and/or administration
Constant updates to materials in Moodle to support students while they are away (if able to use screens, etc.).
Communication with counselors and student about due dates and accommodations.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ 1: What do I do if I suspect my son is still experiencing symptoms from a concussion? Contact your son’s physician, the Jesuit Dallas Trainer (Rick Martin), and/or Dr. Kirby.
FAQ 2: When will my son be able to start working full-speed again? The healing process is different for each student. It is most ideal to listen to the recommendations of the physician. The brain is an important organ and healing is important!
FAQ 3: My son is really anxious about missing school and/or being granted extensions? What can he do? He needs to rest and trust the process. Tell him that we will work with him, his teachers, and his counselors to maintain a makeup schedule that allows him to catch up. One of the goals of the process is for him to maintain momentum. He should not be penalized (late penalties, etc.) for any absences associated with the injury. The school takes a very supportive stance on concussions - health and healing is the priority.