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    GASD Concussion Management Teams

           A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury (mTBI), caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, which can induce an altered state, including physical and cognitive abilities. Although it may include loss of consciousness, in most concussions there is no loss of consciousness. 

           Current research states that approximately 80%-90% of students will recover in the first 3-4 weeks.  Because it is so important to protect and monitor the student during this recovery phase, the statewide PA BrainSTEPS Brain Injury School Re-Entry Consulting Program has been designed to assist an ever increasing number of students with concussion during their return to school.  Returning to the full demands of school too soon following a concussion can significantly increase and potentially prolong symptoms. Therefore, the academic workload must be managed to allow for healing and recovery.

           The BrainSTEPS Program, in conjunction with the PA Department of Education, established a Return to School Concussion Protocol in 2013, utilizing school based academic Concussion Management Teams (CMTs).  Gettysburg Area School District has partnered with The BrainSTEPS program and now has CMTs in all school buildings. 

          Concussions may occur in or out of school. Once a school suspects that a student may have a concussion, or is notified by a parent or physician, the student is referred to the CMT.  The team consists of the school nurse, to oversee the medical aspect, and a teacher/counselor to oversee the academic plan. 

         When a student is placed on the concussion protocol, the parent is contacted and the student is provided with academic and physical accommodations as needed.  If the student is also involved in school athletics, the athletic trainer is also consulted and works in cooperation with the CMT.  The student is monitored at least once a week for an improvement of signs and symptoms.  If the symptoms have not improved after 4 weeks, we have agreed to refer to the local BrainSTEPs team, based in the local educational Intermediate Unit. The BrainSTEPS infrastructure is available to schools as a second layer of more intensive student concussion support, consultation, and training.  The ultimate goal of the concussion protocol is to return the student to a normal physical and academic state by giving the brain adequate time to rest and heal.

    If you have any questions about the school concussion management teams or the concussion protocol, please call your child’s school nurse.