LINCOLN, Neb. — A nonprofit advocacy group has asked Nebraska’s State Board of Education to create a model policy for schools to assess and monitor students who have brain injuries.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska told the Education Board last week that schools across the state respond to concussion injuries in an inconsistent manner, despite the 2012 Concussion Awareness Act requiring schools to establish protocols to handle such injuries, the Lincoln Journal Star reported .
The act originally required schools and youth sports groups to educate coaches, athletes and parents about concussions. They also had to remove injured students from play and required written approval from parents and health care professionals before allowing students to return. The law was widened in 2014 to require the creation of protocols for students returning to the classroom after an injury.
“It’s a continual process, and it’s not part of the culture yet,” said Peggy Reisher, executive director of the alliance. “It’s more than just awareness, it’s figuring out how to recognize and manage students with brain injuries.”
Discussions about concussions have focused too long on athletics, said alliance board member Sharon Royers. Most schools manage concussions through the athletics department, despite a third of students suffering head injuries outside of athletics, she said.
“It’s been stuck in that little silo,” Royers said. “We really need to get it down to the classroom level.”
An ideal response protocol would involve parents and doctors in order to be effective, Royers said. Schools should also have a designated person to follow up on brain injuries and all school staff should be trained in how to handle a concussion, she said.
“The state school board can be a leader in defining all these things,” Reisher said.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com