Laconia joining other school districts in adopting policy for dealing with sports-related concussions
Published DateLACONIA — The School Board is expected to adopt a policy that delineates how student athletes are treated after suffering a possible concussion or head injury while participating in any sport.
The board accepted a first reading of the policy that is rapidly being adopted by schools throughout New Hampshire and the Lakes Region this week.
"The Laconia Board acknowledges the risk of catastrophic injuries or death is significant when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated and managed," reads proposed policy that has been vetted and recommended by the N.H. School Board Association.
Among other things, the policy spells out the education that adult coaches and trainers are to have regarding head injury and each year the district will distribute an information sheet to parents regarding concussions.
In addition the policy requires the athletic director to review and update any changes in procedures regarding head trauma by consulting with the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association and medical professionals.
The policy sets out standards for removal from play and returning to play as well as incorporating concussion awareness into education models. In the event a student gets a concussion, class room teachers will be taught to observe the student and report to the school nurse any abnormal behavior that could be related to a head injury.
The policy was adopted by Gilford in December of 2012 and is being considered by the Shaker Regional School Board and the Newfound Regional School Board.
The Inter-Lakes School Board, said Athletic Director Jeff Cloos, has adopted a similar policy and along with Shaker, has mandated base-line testing for all athletes before they participate in sports.
Dr. John Grobman of Orthopedic Professional Associates in Gilford, who attends Laconia and Gilford football games, met with the Laconia School Board to discuss head trauma in October of 2011.
He explained that high school athletes are especially vulnerable to what he called the "second injury syndrome" because their brains are still developing.
In 2011 Grobman worked with Athletic Director Jim Chase and Middle School Athletic Director Chris Ennis to institute the base-line testing program developed by Pittsburgh area doctors in the 1990s.
Grobman, Chase, and Ennis also worked with physical trainers at Summit Health to develop the program that has been in place for about two years said Chase yesterday.
Chase said Grobman and the trainer are trained to use the Web-based concussion program and cannot reenter any athletic event after sustaining a head injury without one of them approving it.
Cloos said the policy at Inter-Lakes is that any student who suffers and head injury will not return to sports until he or she passes the base-line test for clearance. Cloos said a trainer has also been added to the sports teams.
He said by was of example he's seen one concussion in a middle school female soccer player and, most recently, a male high school hockey player. He said both were evaluated by the program.
Superintendent Maria Dreyer of Shaker Regional said her board will likely be looking at an official policy shortly but the athletic coaches have all undergone training to evaluate head trauma along with the base-line testing.
"I am familiar with the policy and it is on my list for the policy committee," Dreyer said, adding the members of the Shaker Board are dedicated to the safety of their students.