What are concussions?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused by a bump, blow or whiplash force to the head causing the brain to shake. This is a functional injury, not structural so it cannot be seen on a MRI/CT scan. Symptoms could include but are not limited to headache, dizziness, balance issues, as well as sensitivity to lights and noise or emotional symptoms.


Background Info: 

In December 2011, The General Assembly of PA passed the Safe in Youth Sports Act that established "standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries for student athletes". This act was effective as of July 1, 2012. Our protocol at Methacton High School is designed to follow these legislative guidelines and outline the procedures following an injury to an athlete's brain. These procedures are to help ensure that injured athletes are identified, treated appropriately by an appropriate medical professional, and are fully recovered prior to returning to play.


What to do if you think your child has a concussion: 

        If your child is experiencing any signs and symptoms after a head injury, they should seek medical attention. Any athlete that is experiencing concussion symptoms will be evaluated by the Athletic Trainer. If the Athletic Trainer finds symptoms indicative of a concussion, the athlete will be referred to the doctor and will not be able to return until they are cleared. When an athlete suffers from a head injury, we will take them through a series of neurocognitive tests involving memory, orientation, and balance. The athlete should check in to the Athletic Training room daily to go through the daily symptom evaluation.

        After your child has been diagnosed with a concussion, the Nurse‚Äôs office should be notified of the injury. The Athletic Training staff will also need a copy of the doctor's note. If your child requires any academic accommodations, his/her physician should note that as well.

        Once your child is no longer experiencing concussion symptoms and are cleared by the doctor to return to sports, they must complete the Return to Play Progression. Every athlete who is diagnosed with a concussion, once they are cleared by a doctor, MUST perform the Return to Play (RTP) protocol. The athlete must present written clearance to the athletic trainer in order to begin. This progression must be completed before the athlete is allowed to return to their sport. It is a 5 step process and goes as follows:

  • Step 1: Light Aerobic Exercise (i.e. walking or stationary bike at slow to medium pace,no resistance training)
  • Step 2: Sport Specific Exercise (i.e. running drills, no head impact activities
  • Step 3: Non-contact training (i.e. harder training drills, passing drills, may start progressive resistance training)
  • Step 4: Full contact practice (i.e. participate in normal training activities)
  • Step 5: Return to play/sport (i.e. normal game play)

**(this process will vary slightly for non-contact sports)

        There must be 24 hours in between each step (or longer) of the progression. If any symptoms develop while exercising, the athlete will complete the previous step the next day.