T&C Story: Upgrading Protocols

In the May/June issue of Training & Conditioning there was a wonderful article about keeping current with protocols, especially with concussion protocols, written by Phil Hossler, MS, ATC;

In response to the heightened amount of attention currently focused on the issue, it is critical for athletic trainers to upgrade their policies and procedures for dealing with this injury. It is no longer acceptable to simply record, evaluate, and monitor a concussed athlete. We must now develop a “portfolio” mentality when handling concussions, which entails a more collaborative and documented approach.

This is a very good point and one that athletic trainers should be cognizant of; during our “off-season” of sorts is a great time to get things in order.  Just as emergency action plans (EAP) are necessary for documentation and implementation of emergency procedures, concussion policies and procedures should be updated.  Hossler looks at this from different views and angles the first is dealing with the public;

Due to increased media attention, parents now know more about the dangers of concussions and many of them have questions about the issue. We need to be prepared for their questions and welcome them. Better yet, we should be proactive about educating parents and have educational materials ready and waiting for those who want more information.

To start, speak at preseason parents meetings about concussions and how you handle them at your school. Offer a handout to parents marked “Retain This Page For Your Records” with basic information on concussions, and include a statement about concussions as a part of the Informed Consent portion of pre-participation examination forms.

Then, be sure your athletic training room is viewed as a trusted source for more information on concussions. As a reminder of the seriousness of the injury, hang posters in your facility that depict signs and symptoms of concussions. Have easily accessible handouts with in-depth information–for example, a sheet detailing signs and symptoms.

If possible, create a page on the school Web site with downloadable files and links to more information for parents and athletes to explore. (Many good resources are available from the Centers for Disease Control at: www.cdc.gov/Concussion.) In addition, speak to your coaches and teams about noteworthy indicators of possible concussions.

Following up with that the athletic trainer should be the first in a school setting to be informed and well versed in new concussion legislation in each state they work, also be on top of current research and trending issues regarding concussions.  Hossler has created a program he uses and it serves as a good model, CAMP;

To make sure I always have my bases covered, I created the Concussion Assessment and Management Portfolio (CAMP). When you were getting ready to go to summer camp as a youngster, you were given a list of things you needed to pack. When working with concussed athletes, CAMP provides a list to ensure I am thoroughly prepared for handling any concussion situation. It includes tools for initial evaluations, tracking progress, more thorough diagnostic tests, communicating, and handling return-to-play decisions.

Just as important, CAMP also allows for thorough documentation. The process enables me to efficiently document all signs and symptoms, test results, and feedback from the concussed athlete. I can then easily produce an individualized portfolio to track progress and share with the athlete’s other healthcare providers and parents. I will detail how it works in the following sections.

Read the rest of the article at Training & Conditioning, great job Phil.

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