Concussion Management

Concussion Management

The John Carroll School requires the ImPACT Test be taken for all athletes participating in contact and collision sports including:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Equestrian
  • Field Hockey
  • Football
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling 

All students who wish to try out for these programs must complete the test prior to trying out for the team.  The test does expire after two years and the student must then take the test again to continue participation on a John Carroll athletic team.  The ImPACT Test is a computerized program that evaluates and documents multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning, including verbal and visual memory, attention span, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussive symptoms.  The user-friendly injury documentation system enables clinicians to track injury from the field and through the recovery process.                               

concussion is defined as a disturbance in the function of the brain, induced by traumatic forces.  Typically, these forces may result from a direct blow to the head, neck, or face, or may be an indirect force to the head caused by a blow elsewhere on the body.  Some common features of concussion include:

  1. May present as headache, nausea, confusion, balance or memory problems, loss of focus or attention, fatigue, lethargy, irritability or emotional changes.
  2. Frequently described by athletes as “getting dinged” or “having my bell rung”.
  3. Typically results in a short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously but may be recurrent with future injury.
  4. Resolution of symptoms can vary but typically follows a sequential course.
  5. The risk of recurrence and severity of symptoms can increase with each successive concussion or with repeat injury while still recovering from a prior concussion.

Post-concussion syndrome describes the persistence of concussion symptoms that may occur following a concussion.  Though the time will vary, these symptoms will resolve spontaneously and typically follow a sequential course that can be monitored.

The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3 ) is an internationally recognized tool for monitoring concussions and post-concussion symptoms.  John Carroll Sports Medicine will use a SCAT 3 as a tool to assist in managing concussions in high school athletes. This tool will consist of a series of questions and exam findings that when monitored serially can track resolution of residual post-concussion symptoms. 

Any athlete presenting with suspicious symptoms (headache, confusion, etc) or signs (memory problems, etc) should be suspected of having had a concussion and should be evaluated by an athletic trainer or physician.  In addition to the standard of care and standard operating procedures, the recommended protocol for managing concussions is as follows:

  1. All cases of concussion will dictate use of the SCAT 3 for monitoring of symptoms and managing return to play.
  2. This tool should be administered to the athlete by the athletic trainer or physician.
  3. The initial testing should be conducted following the end of the sporting event in which the athlete was injured (game or practice).
  4. Subsequent testing should be conducted daily or every other day until symptoms resolve as evidenced by the test’s results.
  5. These results should be forwarded to the athlete’s physician and school nurse.
  6. These results may be used by the athlete’s physician as one of several tools to manage concussions and guide return to play considerations.
  7. No athlete suspected of having a concussion should return to play without clearance from a physician or athletic trainer or while still exhibiting any evidence of post-concussion symptoms.
  8. Academic impact of concussions:
  • Notification of the Concussion Team (consisting of the School Nurse, Head Athletic Trainer, Assistant Athletic Trainer, Academic Vice Principals, and Guidance Counselors) through the School Nurse.
  • Academic modifications may be made by physician using the Acute Concussion Evaluation Form (ACE) form if athlete is having problems in the classroom.