Towns County Athletic Department
Towns County High School is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students. The following concussion policy utilizes the latest in medical research to prevent and treat head injuries. It is in accordance with GHSA recommendations as well as NFHS guidelines for treating athletes who are suspected to have a head injury.
Diagnosis and Return to Play:
Athletes should complete the following step-by-step process prior to return to play following a concussion:
- Removal from contest following signs and symptoms of a concussion.
- No return to play in current game or practice.
- Medical evaluation following injury.
Criteria for return after a concussion/brain injury/head injury (all steps below must be completed):
- Clearance from medical professional in writing as defined by the concussion recommendations as stated by the NFHS.
- Completely asymptomatic- no symptoms at all.
- Normal medical testing provided by medical professional, following any head injury.
- Supervised graduated return to play protocol. Each step should take 24 hours. The steps must be completed without any symptoms. If any symptoms occur, the athlete returns to the previous asymptomatic step, after 24 hours have passed.
Recommendations for recovery following a concussion:
- No activity- complete rest until all symptoms subside.
- Light aerobic activity (no lifting)- less than 70% max heart rate (ex. Walking).
- Sports Specific exercise- no activities that include contact to the head.
- Non-contact drills- more complex than step 3. May start lifting at this point.
- Full-contact practice- must have clearance from a medical professional.
- Return to game participation.
All previous head, face, and neck injuries must be reported by player or parents in the area provided on all yearly, GHSA mandated physical forms. It is the responsibility of the individual coach to be aware of previous injuries prior to the beginning of each competitive season. Parents should report any head, face, or neck injuries to the Athletic Director or school’s Principal and the head coach of the sport that the student is participating in.
All coaches of Towns County Schools are required by school administration to participate in a Concussion Education Course offered by the National Federation of High Schools (www.nfhslearn.com).
Concussion Management Program:
Towns County student-athletes are recommended to utilize the Concussion Management Program in order to return to athletic competition. The program will provide satellite assessments between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Synergy Health of Hiawassee (Dr. Samuel Church). The goal is to create a safer environment for our student-athletes through education, awareness, and clinical care.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury which results in a temporary disruption of normal brain function. A concussion occurs when the brain is violently rocked back and forth and twisted inside the skull as result of a blow to the body or head. An athlete does not have to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion. (NFHS.com)
It is estimated that over 140,000 high school athletes in the United States suffer a concussion each year. (NFHS Injury Surveillance System)
Concussions occur in all sports, most frequently in football, then girl’s soccer, boy’s lacrosse, wrestling, and girl’s basketball. All athletes are at risk.
Concussion symptoms may last from a few days to several months.
An athlete should not return to sports while still having symptoms from a concussion as they are at risk for prolonging symptoms and further injury.