GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF CONCUSSION AT GGS

Introduction:

These guidelines have been created to assist members of the GGS community in the management of concussion and recognise that the health of the students is the most important issue. Concussion is a temporary disturbance in brain function caused by trauma to the brain that may be the result of a direct blow to the head or elsewhere on the body with the force transmitted to the head. Concussion is a relative common injury in contact sports such as football and rugby but may also occur at other times around the School when students fall or collide (gymnasium, play equipment or in the House). The School staff, sports coaches and students should remain alert for the symptoms and signs of concussion so that the appropriate management can be instigated.

Symptoms and signs of concussion:

It is helpful if a concussive incident is witnessed as the injured student may not remember what happened. Loss of consciousness (knocked out) occurs in only 10-20% of cases of concussion.

Common symptoms of concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, unsteady gait, fatigue and feeling “not quite right”.

Common signs include loss of consciousness, confusion, memory loss (for events before and/or after the incident) and inability to think clearly. The symptoms and signs may be delayed in onset following a collision so ongoing observation is important.

What action should be taken if a student has concussion or suspected concussion? The student must be removed from the game immediately if concussion occurs or is suspected.

Note if the student is unconscious - first aid management of the unconscious patient (DRABC) is the priority remembering that there may be an associated neck injury. The injured student must not be moved, the game must be stopped, the nurse at the Kennedy Centre notified and an ambulance called.

The student with concussion who is conscious requires immediate assessment by a registered nurse from the Kennedy Centre* who will then arrange further assessment of the student by a medical professional (GP, Emergency Department doctor) at the appropriate time.

*Off campus incidents – the nominated GGS staff member present to contact the Kennedy Centre for assistance on 03 52739302/600.

Further management of a student with concussion:

The concussed student must not return to the game that day and future activity will depend on when full recovery occurs as determined by a medical practitioner (School GP). The recovery time from concussion varies from student to student but the majority of cases resolve within 10-14 days of the injury. However in some cases, full recovery may take weeks or months. Rest and observation are necessary for all students with concussion and this may take place in the Kennedy Centre, at the hospital or at home with a parent or guardian. These decisions will be made by the GP involved in consultation with the Kennedy nurse, the Head of House, parents and the student. A medical certificate stating that the student is fit to return to training must be supplied by the doctor involved in the student’s care (School GP). A gradual increase in activity is recommended following concussion to avoid a recurrence of symptoms. Once the concussion has resolved, a successful return to classes/study is the first priority and subsequently a return to training and sporting activity.

Note:

1. Students should not return to school before symptoms such as headache or impaired concentration have fully resolved.
2. There is a higher risk of repeated concussion or other injuries if a student returns to sport before full recovery as their motor skills may still be impaired.

Dr Ian Blair-Holt and Professor Fergus Cameron


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