Any time a student is involved in physical activity, there is a chance of sustaining a concussion. Therefore, it is important to encourage a culture of safety mindedness and take a preventative approach when students are physically active.
Concussion prevention is important, “…there is evidence that education about concussion leads to a reduction in the incidence of concussion and improved outcomes from concussion…”
When educating stakeholders responsible for student safety on concussions, information should include:
- Awareness (definition and the seriousness of concussion, possible mechanisms of injury, second impact syndrome);
- Prevention (steps that can be taken to prevent concussions and other injuries from occurring at schools and at off-site events);
- Identification (common signs and symptoms, safe removal of an injured student from the activity);
- Procedures for a student who has suffered a suspected concussion or a more serious head injury (that is, obtain a Medical Assessment);
- Management for a diagnosed concussion (Return to School Plan which includes the Return to Learning and Return to Physical Activity plans); and
- Return to Physical Activity Medical Clearance requirements.
The concussion prevention approach includes primary, secondary, and tertiary strategies:
- Primary: information/actions that prevent concussions from happening (for example, rules and regulations, minimizing slips and falls by checking that classroom floor and activity environments provide for safe traction and are obstacle free);
- Secondary: management of a concussion (for example, identification and management - Return to School Plan) that is designed to prevent the worsening of a concussion;
- Tertiary: strategies to help prevent long-term complications of a concussion (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) by advising the participant to permanently discontinue a physical activity/sport based on evidence-based guidelines.
Primary and secondary strategies are the focus of the concussion injury prevention information which can be found in Sample Concussion Prevention Strategies.