Community High School District 117 has developed a concussion protocol for students, staff, and parents, supported by current research and evidence-based practice, on the care of concussions and management of the post-concussion recovery period. This protocol is divided into 4 general stages of recovery. Although each concussion injury presents with its own unique symptoms, these stages represent average concussion recovery phases and interventions. We recognize that not every student with a concussion will follow the stages of recovery and healing as presented. This protocol will serve as a guide to support the student in the academic and athletic setting at District 117 schools during his/her individual recovery.
A student’s best chance of full recovery from a concussion involves two critical components: cognitive and physical rest. Continued research has shown cognitive rest to be essential in the quick resolution of concussion symptoms. Cognitive stimulation includes: driving, playing video games, computer use, text messaging, cell phone use, loud and/or bright environments, watching television, reading, and studying. These stimuli must be limited, and in most cases, completely avoided for a brief period of time during recovery. Physical activity such as physical education, athletics, strength or cardiovascular conditioning, and fine arts practices/performances must be completely avoided or regulated while recovering from a concussion.
It is recommended that this protocol is shared with the student’s primary care physician (MD/DO licensed to practice medicine in all its branches) during the initial visit.
Stages of Concussion Recovery and Academic/Athletic Participation:
1. Complete Rest
2. Return to School
3. Full Day of School Attendance
4. Full Academic and Athletic Participation
Return to Learn: Process to return to full cognitive/academic activities.
Return to Play: Process to return to full sports participation.
Points of Emphasis:
• It is important to note that the recovery from a concussion is a very individualized process. Caution must be taken not to compare students with concussions as they progress through the recovery process.
• For the concussion care protocol to be initiated the student must be initially evaluated by a primary care physician, MD/DO (licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches) and documentation must be provided to the school nurse or athletic trainer. An emergency room/acute care note is only temporary until seen by the student’s primary care physician within one week. A student may be referred to a physician specializing in concussion care for further recommendations and eventual clearance for full return to learn (RTL-academics) and return to play (RTP-athletics).
• The student’s missed academic work will be reviewed and granted extra time to complete, in conjunction with the physician recommendations, ATC, and school nurse guidance.
• As the student’s recovery progresses through Stages 1-3, teachers should identify essential academic work in each subject and collaborate with department supervisors, as needed, to determine potential reduction in course workload. This will promote healing, and help reduce the student’s anxiety level related to the perceived volume of work that will be required once the student is medically cleared to resume a full academic load.
• The teacher has the option of assigning the student a grade of incomplete for the progress mark, final exam, and/or semester grade.
• For the student athlete: It is important, upon return to school, that the student report to the athletic trainer to monitor symptoms and determine progression to the next stage within the concussion care protocol. The student may also check in with the school nurse as needed.
• For the non-athlete student: The student may check in with the school nurse as needed.
For additional questions - please contact the student’s school counselor, the school nurse, or the athletic trainer.
ACHS - Wanda Sobczak, school nurse: 847-838-7799
LCHS – Michele Miller, school nurse: 847-838-7117