Concussion Information

Please note: All information on the webpage was reviewed and approved by HC's Medical Inspector.

The incidence of a head injury or a concussion in a student-athlete is taken extremely seriously by the Athletic Department, athletic trainers and coaches at Hunterdon Central.

It is imperative that all parents/guardians of young athletes be informed about this type of injury, the potential consequences and the procedures in place to protect their children. The following concussion information is a 'must-read' for the parents/guardians of student-athletes.

  • An athlete with 2 concussions per season will be removed from contact sports for the remainder of that season. Return to play will require neurocognitive testing and approval by the school medical inspector.
  • An athlete with a history of 3 or more concussions is highly recommended to avoid contact sports. Participation will require neurocognitive testing and be at the discretion of the school medical inspector.
  • Cutting edge research suggests that a concussion produces metabolic, rather than anatomic, injury to the brain, making CT scanning and MRI insensitive to the physiological changes in the concussed brain.
  • Post-concussion syndrome can involve decreased processing speed, short term memory impairment, concentration deficit, depression/irritability, fatigue/sleep disturbance, and academic difficulties.
  • An athlete who sustains a concussion is 4-6 times more likely to sustain a second concussion.

Important Information on Concussions:

Please click to access and read: Sport-Related Concussion & Head Injury Fact Sheet

Please click to access and read: Management of Sport-Related Concussion

FAQ

What is a concussion?

A concussion is the disruption of normal brain function due to either a direct blow to the head, face and neck, or an indirect blow or jolt to another part of the body that transmits an “impulsive” force to the brain. Some concussions may result in a loss of consciousness. However, loss of consciousness is not the defining characteristic of a concussion.

It is imperative that the brain have enough time to heal in order to prevent any further trauma or permanent damage. Rest must always come in the form of ceasing all physical activity, but may also involve a break from challenging cognitive activity as well.

Information in this definition was obtained from the Concussion in Sports Consensus Statement, provided by the Concussion in Sports Committee, as an extension of the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, Inc.

What are the signs of a concussion?

Signs (observable behaviors) that may be present with concussions:

• Appears to be dazed or stunned
• Is confused about time, date, location
• Is unable to remember what he/she did prior to or after the injury
• Has altered balance
• Is slow to answer questions
• Displays a personality change
• Has altered sleep patterns
• Is vomiting
• Experiences loss of consciousness (not present in all concussions)

What symptoms are frequently present with a concussion?

Symptoms (experienced and reported by the athlete) that may be present with concussions:

• Headache
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Double or fuzzy vision or any other visual alteration
• Sensitivity to light and/or noise
• Feeling sluggish or slow
• Feeling “foggy” or in a “funk”
• Difficulty in concentrating when reading, listening or speaking
• Extreme fatigue

Taken from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC Sports Medicine, Sports Concussion Program.

How should a concussion be managed or treated?

Proper management of concussion is the best form of prevention of serious injury. Most important is prevention of Second Impact Syndrome – a catastrophic increase in intracranial pressure leading to massive brain swelling, herniation and death. This syndrome occurs in athletes up to 14 days post-concussion and when an athlete returns to competition prior to the complete resolution of symptoms. Therefore the following concussion protocols are utilized at Hunterdon Central:

1) Any student/athlete diagnosed with concussion are removed from competition.

2) No students with concussion are allowed to return to play in the current game.

3) All concussions are referred for medical evaluation following the injury.

4) Stepwise return to play:
a. No physical activity; rest until asymptomatic
b. Light aerobic exercise is supervised by the athletic trainer
c. Non-contact drills until 1 week post-injury
d. Return to contact sports after minimum of 1 week post-injury and completely asymptomatic (neurocognitive testing will now be used to assess return-to-play).
e. Any recurrence of concussive symptoms should lead to the athlete dropping back to the previous level.

5) An athlete with 2 concussions per season will be removed from contact sports for the remainder of that season. Return to play will require neurocognitive testing and approval by the school medical inspector.

6) An athlete with a history of 3 or more concussions is highly recommended to avoid contact sports. Participation will require neurocognitive testing and be at the discretion of the school medical inspector.

Are they any additional facts about concussions that are important to know?

• Mild concussions (“bell ringers”) do not require loss of consciousness. Presenting symptoms may include headache, nausea, balance problems, photosensitivity, fatigue, foggy or sluggish feeling, change in sleep patterns and cognitive changes.

• Cutting edge research suggests that a concussion produces metabolic, rather than anatomic, injury to the brain, making CT scanning and MRI insensitive to the physiological changes in the concussed brain.

• An athlete who sustains a concussion is 4-6 times more likely to sustain a second concussion.

• Effects of a concussion are cumulative in athletes who return to play prior to complete recovery.

• High school athletes with a history of 3 or more concussions are up to 9 times more likely to have more severe symptoms following subsequent concussions.

• Post-concussion syndrome can involve decreased processing speed, short term memory impairment, concentration deficit, depression/irritability, fatigue/sleep disturbance, and academic difficulties.

More information on concussions can be obtained from the following website: www.sportsconcussion.com

How does Hunterdon Central Handle Concussions?

What is ImPACT:

Hunterdon Central utilizes a software program to assess head injuries, called ImPACT. This program tests all athletes pre-season and obtains a baseline measurement of neurocognitive function. During the season, if an athlete has a suspected head injury, he/she is retested and the result is compared to that original, baseline measurement. An athlete is not allowed to return to play after a head injury until his/her measurement return to the baseline normal status.

Please click to access and read:ImPACT Testing Directions

FAQ

What is ImPACT?

ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), is a software tool which was developed by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). ImPACT is used in many professional, collegiate and high school sports programs across the country, to successfully diagnose and manage concussions. If an athlete is believed to have suffered a head injury, ImPACT is used to help determine its severity and help monitor the healing process.

How does ImPACT work?

During pre-season, before any physical contact is sustained, an athlete takes a 30-minute computerized test that measures brain processing, speed, memory and visual motor skills. The ImPACT testing procedures are non-invasive and pose no risks to your son/daughter. The results are collected and stored by our athletic trainers and physician. If an athlete experiences a head injury or concussion during the season, he/she is re-tested and the result is compared to the preseason baseline data. Doing this allows physicians to determine the athlete’s neurocognitive status and determine when it is safe for the player to return to active sports.

How is the ImPACT data used?

If an injury of this nature occurs to your son or daughter, you will be promptly contacted with all the details. The pre-season and post-injury test data may be sent to a neuropsychologist or neurosurgeon at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) to help evaluate the injury. The information can also be shared with an athlete’s physician. The test data will enable these health professionals to determine when return-to-play is appropriate and safe for an injured athlete.

In order to ensure your child’s anonymity, we have set up and use an anonymous data submission system. The anonymous information gathered from the ImPACT program may also be used in studies currently being conducted by both Hunterdon Central and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Which athletes must complete ImPACT?

All student-athletes who plan to participate in any sport at Hunterdon Central must complete the ImPACT baseline evaluation online. prior to the start of pre-season.

Your son/daughter will only need to complete ONE baseline evaluation for the school year, regardless of how many sports they plan to play during the year.

How Does an Athlete Take the ImPACT Test?

ImPACT must be completed by an athlete online at prior to the start of pre-season training. For instructions on how to take the ImPACT test, go to: https://www.hcrhs.org/uploaded/Athletics/ImPACT_Testing_Directions_2016.pdf. To take the ImPACT Test, please go to this website - copy and paste the link into your browser: www.impacttestonline.com/schools

PLEASE NOTE: ANY ATHLETE COMPLETING THE BASELINE TEST ONLINE MUST ENTER THIS CODE IN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE SITE: 5260169296

A student athlete will not be allowed to participate in any activity with an increased chance of head injury until the baseline evaluation has been completed and the form has been signed and submitted, indicating compliance with this regulation.

Student athletes and their parents/guardians must review the Concussion Information on the Sports Medicine & Athletic Training Webpage before registering for any sport at Hunterdon Central.

If you have questions about the ImPACT program, please contact our Athletic Trainers, Jeff Paszkewicz at 908-284-7131 or Anthony Riccardella at 908-284-7214.