Concussion Protocols

  • Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury can occur whenever there is a blow or jolt to the head.  DPS seeks to prevent concussions and provide a safe return to activity, both academic and athletic, after a head injury.  Although every concussed student is different, the care and management of students who have sustained a concussion requires education, supervision, and close collaboration between students, parents/guardians, school nurses and, when applicable, the athletic trainer, athletic director, administrator, guidance counselors, and medical professionals. 

    In accordance, when a student sustains a head injury, DPS’ protocol for Re-entry to Academics and Return to Physical Activity is as follows:

    • Student is removed from physical activity until medically evaluated

    • Head Injury report filled out by Athletic Trainer, Coach, or school nurse as appropriate

    • Parent/guardian notified and student is dismissed from school or athletic activity and referred for medical evaluation

    • Medical provider evaluates student and documents diagnosis or traumatic brain injury or concussion

    • Parent provides school nurse with documentation of head injury from medical provider and plan of care including accommodations for academic and physical activity.

    • School nurse will initiate the Return To Academics protocol

    • School nurse will notify, as applicable, the athletic trainer when student has completed the Return to Academics protocol and is ready to begin the Gradual Return to Play protocol.


    Symptoms to look for following a blow to the head:

    • Headache or feeling of pressure in head

    • Nausea/vomiting

    • Loss of consciousness 

    • Feeling groggy

    • Sensitivity to noise or light

    • Blurred or double vision

    • Appears dazed or confused

    • Balance problems or dizziness

    • Answers questions slowly

    • Behavior or personality changes

    • Concentration or memory problems


    Some of these symptoms will appear immediately after the blow to the head.  Some may disappear quickly while others can increase or develop hours or even days after the injury.  What to do if your son/daughter has sustained a concussion:

    1. Seek medical consultation.  If there has been loss of consciousness (even briefly), your child should be taken immediately to the hospital or MD office for evaluation.  For concussions not involving loss of consciousness, report symptoms to the primary care provider right away for advice on how to proceed.

    2. Brain and Physical Rest is the main treatment for a concussion.  Doing as little as possible will allow symptoms to begin clearing and a graduated return to school and sports will be planned.

    3. Proper evaluation.  Make sure to get written recommendations from medical provider who understands current concussion management.  Progression is very individualized with factors such as duration and type of symptoms and previous history of concussion.

    4. Inform your child’s school nurse that your child has been diagnosed with a concussion and discuss the procedures and plans for your child’s return to academics, physical activity and athletics.