Academic and Care Policy for Concussion in Students

Each year, several Colorado College students suffer from concussions caused by blows to the head. Damage from concussions can affect the brain down to the subcellular level and vary in severity from very mild to 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 Dean of the College
Last revision
June 2018
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Last review
June 2018
Additional references
NCAA Concussion Diagnosis & Management Best Practices; NCAA Fact Sheet on Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion


All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus, including volunteers are within the scope of this policy. If there is a variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community, including volunteers to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy. Unless specifically mentioned in a college policy, the college’s Board of Trustees are governed by their Bylaws.


The president of the college delegates administration of the Academic and Care Policy For Concussion in Students to the director of athletics and the dean of the college.

Post-concussion next steps and procedures – Concussions reported to the Student Health Center and/or CC Sports Medicine or the club sports athletic trainer will be managed by clinical exam and, if needed, appropriate medical referral. Referrals may include emergency medical services, neurology, or other health-care specialists.

(a) Intercollegiate Varsity Athletes – will follow the NCAA-mandated protocol for concussion management. Please contact the athletic trainer for your athletic team, or a member of the sports medicine staff for evaluation. CC student-athletes MUST be cleared through the NCAA-mandated policy by a team physician, or their delegate, before returning to athletics activities.

(b) Club Sports Athletes – please contact the athletic trainer for club sports.  If you are unable to reach that individual, seek out medical care at the Student Health Center, the local hospital, or emergency services for evaluation.  It is imperative that a compliant patient is asymptomatic before the patient is cleared for vigorous, athletics, and/or contact-related activities.  Clearance needs to be provided by the athletic trainer for club sports in conjunction with the Student Health Center or an affiliated medical professional.

(c) General Students – if you believe you have suffered a concussion, or exhibit concussion symptoms after a blow to the body or head injury, please seek out medical care at the Student Health Center, the local hospital, or emergency services for evaluation. It is imperative that a compliant patient is asymptomatic before the patient is cleared for vigorous, athletics, and/or contact-related activities. Clearance should be sought from the Student Health Center or a local medical provider with experience in concussion evaluation and management.  In the event that a student does not seek out medical care directly, it is advised that they at least notify the Office of Student Life about the condition.

Academic Management for all Students 

(a) After evaluation for a concussion, correspondence with faculty members to inform them of student injury due to concussion should be directed to the (i) current professor, (ii) vice president for student life/dean of students, (iii) director of Accessibility Resources , (iv) dean of the college and (vi) the head athletic trainer, or the athletic trainer for club sports (if a varsity intercollegiate athlete or club sports athlete is injured).

  • Information should be presented to the student’s professor regarding the patient’s (in)ability to perform academic tasks, and their clinical symptoms. 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.
  • This correspondence should be provided by the initial medical evaluator.
  • It is a student’s responsibility to work with both their professor and Accessibility Resources if academic assistance is needed for a class.

Post-concussion considerations

(a) 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 until cleared by a medical professional. Students should show signs of improvement and a significant reduction in concussive symptoms before returning to academic responsibilities.

(b) 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. 

  • Before dropping any class, all students should discuss this option with their appropriate medical provider, their professor/instructor, and Accessibility Resources (if necessary).
  • Varsity athletes must discuss the dropping of any class with their athletic trainer, head coach, and associate director of athletics prior to doing so. Dropping a class can have a negative effect on a varsity athlete’s ability to compete at the NCAA level.

(c) 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.

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




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