The North Carolina Brain Injury Advisory Council and the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina are offering physicians and physician assistants a new tool to help them communicate with parents whose children have suffered a concussion.
The brochure “Returning to School After a Concussion” assists parents in understanding the school’s role in supporting appropriate recovery of students who sustain concussions.  It is intended to enhance communication from medical providers to parents, and parents to schools, in order to ensure that all students who sustain concussions are being appropriately monitored and supported as they transition back into their respective educational environments. Download the brochure for distribution to your patients here.
In 2011 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Gfeller Waller Concussion Awareness Act (GWCA), which addresses concussion management for injuries experienced in the context of participation in public school sports. This law provided clear guidelines and procedures for managing the concussion symptoms of middle and high school students, including return-to-play guidelines, but did not address:

  • non-sports related injuries,
  • injuries that occurred outside the school setting,
  • injuries to younger children, or,
  • needs of students as they returned to the educational environment.

The current education policy provides “return-to-learn” guidelines that should assist all NC public school systems in addressing the learning, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students, including those under the GWCA, following a concussion.
In support of the Return to Learn policy, an Implementation Guide has been developed.  This guide is intended to:

  1. Provide guidelines for the identification of students who have sustained a concussion;
  2. Guide staff in the evaluation of a student with a concussion and provide guidelines for parent notification;
  3. Provide parents and staff with concussion education;
  4. Provide guidance for staff as they develop educational and health-related accommodations for students who have sustained a concussion;
  5. Provide guidance to staff as they provide educational supports for students with prolonged symptoms related to concussion. (Persisting problems following concussion in children are more common in those with previous head injury, as well as those who have experienced preexisting learning difficulties, neurological, or psychiatric difficulties.)

The “Return to Learn” brochure was developed to establish a uniform system of communication regarding the school’s role in concussion management that can be provided to the parent by the medical provider at the point of diagnosis.