As part of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Regulation 105 CMR 201.000 "Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Athletic Activities" students and parents are required to complete one of the free online training provided below. By completing the Westford Public Schools Athletics Release Agreement, parents and students acknowledge their completion of this regulation. (A completed certificate does not need to be turned in with other forms.)
Required Free Online Training Video Link for Parents/Students - Please complete. Go to Course tab and Find the FREE Concussion in Sports course.
Additional Information for Review by Athletes/Parents
WPS Athletic Department Head Injury/Concussion Procedures
The staff and administration at Westford Public Schools realize that athletics are a very large part of our student’s lives. With this comes the risk of concussions. Due to increased awareness regarding this topic and the implementation of better concussion management programs there is progress for our student athletes. When identified immediately and cared for properly those who suffer concussion injuries tend to recover well. To ensure that our athletes are properly cared for if they sustain an injury of this type, there are steps we follow to help ensure the best possible outcome.
1) Education- All WPS coaches, athletic trainers, and athletic director will complete one of the free MDPH approved online training videos annually. Parents and students will also complete the free online video annually before participation begins. Furthermore, pre season information will include information about the signs, symptoms, recovery from a concussion, the role that cognitive and sideline testing play and the risks associated with returning too soon. All coaches will also be instructed to teach proper technique aimed at reducing the risk of concussions and head injuries.
2.) Pre Participation Reporting - Students and parents must complete the online registration process before participation may begin. Students will not be allowed to participate until this process is completed and reviewed. This will supply WPS coaches, athletic trainer and nurses with the most up to date information regarding past head injuries as well as verification of the annual training requirement for parents and students. Any student indicating a history of head injuries/concussion must have a review done by the Athletic Trainer at Westford Academy or the middle school nurse(for MS sports) before participation may begin.
3.) Baseline Testing- ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the program used for this purpose at Westford Academy. Selected contact sport players will take a pre season computerized test at least once every two years to establish a baseline score.
4.) Evaluation- Based on the assessment of the onsite athletic trainer or the coach, any player observed or suspected to have suffered a head injury and exhibiting any signs or symptoms of such an injury will be removed from that day’s game, practice or workout for further evaluation by a medical professional. They will not be allowed to return that same day. If there is an observed or suspected loss of consciousness 911 should be called without hesitation. Someone shall stay with the injured athlete until advanced help arrives.
5.) Notification of the head injury will include parents, coaches, athletic trainer, athletic director, school nurse, guidance, administration and teachers. At Westford Academy; Parents will be notified of the injury by the coach or athletic trainer as soon as possible and recommend a medical evaluation of the injury. In the event that the athletic trainer is not present, the coach shall notify the parents and athletic trainer of the injury as soon as possible. Upon receiving notification, the athletic trainer will notify the athletic director, appropriate coaches, nurses, Westford Academy administration and guidance counselors of the status of the student athlete. Guidance counselors will communicate the information to the student athlete’s teachers and staff. At the
middle school level, coaches must contact parents as soon as possible and report the suspected head injury to the middle school nurse. The middle school nurse will then contact the student’s guidance counselors, administration and teachers.
A student athlete who suffers a head injury outside of Westford Public School athletics shall be required to complete the WPS Head Injury Report Form “Outside of WPS Athletics”. The form must be returned to the athletic trainer
6.) Documentation: The coach will complete the Westford School Department Student Accident- Incident Report as soon as possible. The report should be sent to the athletic trainer at WA or to the middle school nurse for recording purposes. The athletic trainer or middle school nurse will retain all pre-participation forms/information, student accident report forms, and “Outside of WPS Athletics Head Injury Report Forms” for the required length of time as required by the MDPH. The WPS nurses will maintain a head injury master database in the WPS Student Physical Database. The athletic director will report the necessary head injury cumulative data to the MDPH on a yearly basis.
7.) Academic Support- Due to ongoing symptoms following a concussion, some students have difficulty keeping up with academic demands. If following medical evaluation it is determined the student needs specific accommodations, the guidance counselors will be notified so as to help facilitate the recovery of the student.
8.) Return to Participation- Following a concussion injury, the athlete should have regular communication with the athletic trainer or middle school nurse to update his/her condition. There should be no practice or exercise, in or out of school, while the athlete is symptomatic. The athlete may be cleared to return to play when he/she has been free of symptoms for a minimum of one week (may be longer), neurocognitive scores are back to baseline, have been cleared by personal physician and cleared by the athletic trainer or middle school nurse. Return to participation will also include a stepwise increase in activity/exertion as follows:
Light aerobic activity
Aerobic activity and weight training
Non contact sport specific drills
Full contact sport specific activity
The athlete must remain free of symptoms for 24 hours to advance to the next level. If symptoms return at any point, a 24 hour rest is mandated and the previous step is repeated following the rest period. Final clearance by physician follows.