Any student with a suspected concussion will be evaluated by a licensed medical professional at the earliest possible opportunity. This will include a comprehensive neurological and motor function assessment. For athletes, a certified athletic trainer or team physician will initiate this exam and decide, based on the extent of injury, whether the student needs immediate referral to the Emergency Department or can be monitored on campus. Non-athletes will be evaluated by a physician or nurse practitioner in the Health Center following the same guidelines. In both situations, the student will be provided with information regarding the management and treatment of concussions, as well as home care instructions that can be shared with a roommate, teammate, trusted friend, or local caregiver that include signs and symptoms that might require immediate emergency treatment.

If the injury occurs when the Health Center is closed, immediate care and evaluation can be performed by Certified Athletic Trainers, Campus Safety, or Emergency Medical Technicians with the College Township Fire Department. If there is a significant injury involving a loss of consciousness or a concern that the injury could be life-threatening or result in permanent disability, campus personnel may insist that the student seek immediate evaluation with a medical professional.

After-hours resources for students who have sustained a head injury and need monitoring include:

  • Trusted friend or roommate who can be responsible for ensuring student safety
  • Campus Safety
  • Director on duty
  • Nurse practitioner on call (through Campus Safety)
  • Parent or relative (if student is able to call parents and travel home for recovery)
  • College Township Fire Department personnel

Students are expected to check in with the Health Center staff or athletic training staff on a regular basis during their recovery from a concussion. They will be advised of campus resources to assist them academically. During each appointment, the student will complete a symptom score checklist to monitor ongoing symptoms and document progress. If additional resources are required (i.e., neurological consultation), the medical staff will connect student with other professionals.

Protocol for Non-Athletes

After an initial assessment at the Health Center, a notification will be sent to the student’s faculty and faculty advisor by the Dean of Student Development.

  1. This email will be copied to the student and state that the student is responsible for arranging and meeting with each professor regarding any concerns about academic work.
  2. The student will be advised to contact and meet with a SASS advisor in order to arrange any accommodations or assistive technology.

Accommodations may include the following:

  • Books on tape or digital text materials
  • Access to class notes
  • Extended time for tests
  • Time allowances for make-up work
  • Rest breaks during class or tests

Specific issues to watch for when returning to academic work:

  • Poor attention span
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Reduced short-term memory recall
  • Delayed processing
  • Inability to complete routine tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Sensitivity to light/noise
  • Irritable or withdrawn

Protocol for Athletes

The protocol for athletes is the same as for non-athletes with the addition of the following:

  1. Student athletes will undergo both symptom score checklists and post-injury impact testing. If the athletes’ post-injury scores are similar to baseline scores and/or national averages, they can begin the return-to-play progression. If the athletes’ post-injury score shows deficits, they will follow up with a team physician for further evaluation.
  2. The return to play protocol will include the following regimen once the student has been symptom free for 24 hours. Completing one step and moving on the next is contingent upon finishing the prior day’s activities with no return of symptoms.

a. Day 1: 30-minute bike workout
b. Day 2: 30-minute running/cardio workout
c. Day 3: Return to non-contact sport specific activities
d. Day 4: Return to contact activities

Background information on educational impact of concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI) for students

New research shows that any concussion, including a “ding” or “bell-ringer,” is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that needs to be taken seriously. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can impact a student’s ability to learn while symptoms are present and may require individualized academic accommodations. Once students are ready to return to classes, providing academic accommodations can prevent exacerbation of symptoms and lead to a quicker and more successful recovery.

For further consultation, please contact:

Chris Smith
Title: Senior Director of Wellness
Office Location: 104 W. Scott Lane
Campus Phone: 740-427-5415
Regarding: Concussion follow-up & management

Mark Teeples
Title: Head Athletic Trainer
Office Location: Lowry Center
Campus Phone: 740-427-5017

Ruthann Daniel-Harteis
Title: Director, Student Accessibility and Support Services
Office location: Room 221, Chalmers Library
Campus Phone: 740-427-5453
Regarding: Academic accommodations & support

Thomas Hawks
Title: Dean of Academic Advising and Support
Office Location: Chalmers Library, Second Floor
Campus Phone: 740-427-5448
Regarding: Course and/or semester withdrawal

Concussion Information for Students and Caregivers

A concussion is an injury to your brain from trauma to your head. A blow to the head, a car accident, a fall, or any other trauma that severely jolts the head can cause a concussion. When a concussion occurs, your brain (which is soft) hits against the bones of the skulls and becomes injured. There may or may not be a loss of consciousness (passing out). Because the brain is very complex, every brain injury is different. Some symptoms may appear right away, while others may not show up for days or weeks after the concussion. Most people with mild injuries recover fully, but it can take time. Some symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer. Most people with a concussion recover quickly and fully.

Signs (symptoms others may see):

  • Appears dazed or confused
  • Confused about assignments
  • Unable to remember recent events
  • Slow to answer questions
  • Moves clumsily
  • Vomiting
  • Behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events before injury

Symptoms (things you may feel):

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Double or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling sluggish or slow
  • Feeling “foggy” or “groggy”
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Extreme fatigue

Sometimes serious problems develop after a head injury. Go immediately to the Emergency Room or call 911 if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Headache that gets worse or does not go away
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to stay awake when you would normally be awake
  • Getting more confused, restless or agitated
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Difficulty walking and/or difficulty with balance
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Difficulty with your vision

Complete rest, both mentally and physically, is very important immediately following a brain injury.

It is okay to:

  • Use Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches.
  • Use an ice pack on the head or neck intermittently.
  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day. Naps are okay.
  • Eat a light diet if nauseated, or normal diet if no nausea is present.

Do not:

  • Take Ibuprofen, Aleve, or other anti-inflammatories for pain.
  • Exercise, until cleared by a health professional.
  • Wake EVERY hour. Intermittent waking during the night to assess arousal is acceptable.
  • Drive a vehicle
  • Take any medications or substances that cause drowsiness or changes in level of consciousness, including narcotic pain medicines, alcohol, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, or recreational drugs.
  • Engage in activities that require a lot of lengthy mental activity (such as homework, job-related activities, extended video game playing, texting or prolonged computer work).