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College-wide Policies

Academic and Care Considerations After Concussion in Students

Each year, several Colorado College students suffer from concussions caused by blows to the head that lead to the brain itself being damaged. The damage can significantly affect the brain all the way down to the subcelluar level, and can vary in severity from very mild to potentially completely debilitating (Shaw, 2002, Prog Neurobiol, 67, pages 281-344). The accepted treatment for concussions among medical professionals is both physical AND cognitive rest until symptoms resolve (McCrory et al. 2009, Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, volume 19, pages 185-195). The purpose of this policy is to inform the CC community in general, and professors in particular, of the consequences of a concussion so that we can foster a supportive environment for successful treatment and recovery.

Responsible office
Dean of the College
Responsible party
Director of athletics and the dean of the college
Last revision
August 2013
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Additional references
None

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

The president of the college delegates administration of the Academic and Care Considerations Following Concussion in Students policy to the director of athletics and the dean of the college/dean of the faculty.

Post-concussion next steps

(a) It is imperative that a compliant patient is asymptomatic before the patient is cleared for vigorous, athletic, and/or contact-related activities. CC student-athletes MUST be cleared through a team physician, or their delegate, before returning to athletic activities.

 (b) Correspondence with faculty members to inform them of student injury due to concussion should be directed to the (i) current professor, (ii) faculty from psychology department with expertise in neuroscience, (iii) vice president for student life/dean of students, (iv) director of disability services, (v) associate dean of the college and (vi) the head athletic trainer.

 (c) Information should be presented to faculty regarding the patient’s (in)ability to perform academic tasks. It may often be necessary for students to receive applicable time away from schoolwork in order to appropriately recover from a concussion. This may take a few days, weeks, or even months.

Post-concussion considerations

(a) Information should be presented to faculty regarding the patient’s (in)ability to perform academic tasks. It may often be necessary for students to receive applicable time away from school work in order to completely? recover from a concussion. This may take a few days, weeks, or even months.

(b) Avoidance of cognitive stimuli may offer great benefits in reducing the longevity of concussive symptoms. Students should be discouraged from text-messaging, using a computer, studying, watching television, attending functions in noisy or bright environments, or going to class. Students should be encouraged to rest as much as possible when cleared to do so by a medical professional. Students should show signs of improvement and a significant reduction in concussive symptoms before returning to academic responsibilities.

 (c) Students should be monitored closely for diminishing academic performance by both faculty and staff members. Dropping classes/block(s) may be necessary while attempting to fully recover from concussion.

 (d) Students with associated academic deficits, prolonged symptoms, or post-concussion syndrome should be considered candidates for a neurological and/or neuro-psychological referral for appropriate specialized care and rehabilitation considerations.

 (e) Additional communications may be necessary (i.e., student’s employer, National Collegiate Athletic Association compliance official, parents, et al).

Procedures

Concussions reported to Boettcher Health Center and/or CC Sports Medicine will be managed by clinical exam and, if needed, appropriate referral. Referrals may include emergency medical services, neurology, or other health-care specialists.

The stable patient who shows no signs or symptoms of deterioration may be admitted to the Boettcher Health Center Infirmary, pending the clinical decision of the CC health-care provider (i.e., Boettcher staff, CC certified athletic trainer, and/or CC team physician). A skilled nurse will monitor vital signs, perform appropriate assessments, and/or activate emergency medical support as needed in a case of deterioration.