OSAA Concussion Management Policy
OSAA Executive Board policies under Article 5.3 of the OSAA Constitution - Concussion Management:
"Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body, or who has been diagnosed with a concussion, shall not be permitted to return to that contest, or any other athletic contest, on that same day. Until an athlete who has suffered a concussion is no longer experiencing post-concussive symptoms, and a medical release form signed by an appropriate healthcare professional is obtained, the athlete shall not be permitted to return
to athletic activity." (Fall 2008)
OSAA SIDELINE CONCUSSION GUIDE - Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion
One or more of these signs and symptoms may indicate that an athlete has a concussion. Any of the symptoms listed in the two tables below should be taken seriously. Athletes who experience these signs or symptoms after a bump, blow or jolt to the head should be kept from play until cleared by a healthcare professional.
When a concussion occurs
If you suspect that an athlete has a concussion, take the following steps:
1. Immediately remove the athlete from play. Athletes who experience signs or symptoms of concussion should not be allowed to return to play. "When in doubt, keep them out."
2. Ensure that the athlete is elevated by an appropriate health care professional. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself.
3. Inform the athlete's parents or guardians about the known or possible concussion. Make sure they know that the athlete should be seen by a health care professional.
4. Allow the athlete to return to play only with permission from an appropriate health care professional. Any athlete who continues to have the above signs or symptoms upon return to activity must be removed from play and re-evaluated by their health care provider.
When can an athlete return to play?
After suffering a concussion, no athlete should return to play or practice on that same day. Previously, athletes were allowed to return to play if their symptoms resolved within 15 minutes of the injury. Studies have shown us that the young brain does not recover that quickly, thus the OSAA has established a rule that no player shall return to play following a concussion on that same day and the athlete must be cleared by an appropriate health care professional before they are allowed to return to play or practice. Once an athlete is cleared to return to play, he/she
should proceed with activity in a stepwise fashion to allow the brain to re-adjust to exertion. The athlete may complete a new step each day. The return to play schedule should proceed as below, following medical clearance:
Step 1: Light exercise, including walking or riding an exercise bike. No weight-lifting.
Step 2: Running in the gym or on the field. No helmet or other equipment.
Step 3: Non-contact training drills in full equipment. Weight-training can begin.
Step 4: Full contact practice or training.
Step 5: Game play.
If symptoms occur at any step, the athlete should cease activity and be re-evaluated by his/her health care provider.
How can a concussion affect schoolwork?
Following a concussion, many athletes will have difficulty in school. These problems may last from days to months and often involve difficulties with short and long-term memory, concentration and organization.
In many cases it is best to lessen the athlete's class load early on after the injury. This may include no classes for a few days or a lightened schedule for a longer period of time. Decreasing the stress on the brain early on after a concussion may lessen symptoms and shorten the recovery time.