Local School Board in Michigan Institutes Concussion Policy

The Chippewa Valley school board has adopted a two-part concussion policy that will take a proactive approach to identifying student-athletes with concussions as well as dictate the level of care before they return to play.

Dakota High School (DHS) Athletic Director Michael Fusco told the media that the policy “will assist us in providing a clear direction to our coaches, our parents and also to the health care workers that we use to help bring our kids along after they’ve received a concussion.”

The policy calls for the district to begin impact testing on all athletes in grades seven through 12, and develop a standardized clearance form that physicians can use when evaluating the condition of student-athletes with suspected concussions.

Photo by Tim Hipps

DHS athletic trainer Melissa Vincke said the impact testing will begin this spring. Athletes will “take a baseline test to measure visual and verbal memory along with processing speed and reaction time,” she said.

Fusco admitted that the process for clearing an athlete to return to play “has been very vague in the past and we have struggled with it. Physicians and parents are making decisions about whether a student athlete is ready to return, and sometimes physicians are not as up to speed about what a concussion is and the implications.”

The implementation of the policy may be tied to an alarming increase in the incidents of concussions in the school district.

“In the recent past, even five years ago, we dealt with only four to six concussions a year, but since the level of awareness has gone up, we’re not even through all three seasons and we’ve seen 15-20 concussions at Dakota,” Fusco said. “This is an important consideration.”

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