Upper Merion Area School District

Upper Merion Area School District

Upper Merion Area School District

Concussion Protocol

Concussion Information

What Is A Concussion? (Taken from the Center for Disease Control)
A concussion is a brain injury. Concussions are caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head.
They can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works. Even a
“ding”or a bump on the head can be serious. Concussions can occur during practices or games in
any sport, or even during everyday life. Loss of consciousness only occurs in about 10% of all
concussions. You may still be suffering from a concussion even though there was no loss of

Example signs and symptoms of a concussion:

  • Appears stunned or dazed
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss (forgets plays, is unaware of the score, or who the opponent is)
  • Instability
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Personality or behavior change
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Double or fuzzy vision
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Feeling sluggish/foggy/drowsy
  • Concentration or memory problems

If you suspect your student athlete has a concussion, make sure he or she seeks medical
treatment as soon as possible. Even if it happened outside of school athletics, the athletic training
staff still needs to be informed to ensure proper medical treatment.


UMASD Concussion Management Protocol

  • Baseline ImPACT
    • ImPACT is a computerized concussion evaluation test that looks at an athlete’s
      cognitive abilities
      • For more information check out
    • Baseline test taken first year playing sports in each Upper Merion school (typically
      seventh and/or ninth grade)
    • All athletes will take a baseline in 11th grade as well, regardless of if/when they took a previous one
    • Upper Merion Middle school
      • Will have one baseline during middle school athletics
      • Will need a new baseline once athlete enters high school


  • Suspected injury
    • Remove from practice/game
    • Sideline evaluation by athletic trainer
    • Full concussion screening by athletic trainer or concussion specialist
    • Speak with parent or guardian either via phone call or in person
      • No driving, no bus if possible
      • Home care instructions given to student/guardian
      • Recommended mental rest, including staying home from school the next day
      • No physical activity until cleared to do so by athletic trainer or concussion specialist
  • Athlete follow-up with athletic trainer next day athlete is in school
    • Symptom tracker daily
    • No physical activity (including gym class) until further notice
    • No extra curricular activities while still symptomatic (band, drama club, chorus,
      non-school sports, etc)
    • Notification of concussion sent via email to coach/principal/assistant principal/nurse/counselors/athletic director by athletic trainer
      • Email notification then sent to athlete’s teachers by his or her counselor
  • ImPACT Post Test
    • Administered once symptom free, or very close to it
    • ImPACT post-concussion test typically done before seeing a physician for clearance
    • Physician may require more than one post- concussion ImPACT depending on the severity of the concussion


  • When to see doctor
    • No improvement or an increase in symptoms after 5 days
    • After post-concussion ImPACT test is taken
    • Rapid improvement in symptom tracker
    • For final clearance to return to game play


  • Clearance
    • Clearance from a concussion specialist is required to return to game play according to the Safety in Youth Sports Act from July 2012
      • This clearance can also come from a neurologist
      • Cannot be cleared by a pediatrician or family doctor, unless they are specifically trained in concussions
  • Clearance from the athletic training staff is also required to return to game play
    • List of preferred concussion specialists
      • Main Line Sports Medicine -
        • Dr. Kevin Walsh (UMASD Team Physician)
        • Dr. Keli Donnelly
      • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (Sports Medicine and Performance Center) - 610-768-9470 (KOP Office)
        • Dr. Matthew Grady
        • Dr. Christina Master
      • Nemour’s Children’s Clinic Rehabilitative Medicine – 610-557-4800,
        • Dr. Kathleen O’Brien
        • Dr. Nicole Marcantuono
      • Rothman Institute – 1-800-321-9999
        • Dr. Tricia Beatty
        • Dr. Michael Duncan
      • Penn Medicine at Valley Forge – 610-576-7700
        • Dr. Matthew Lewullis


  • Return to Play Protocol – (Zurich 2012) - 24 hours between each step, must be supervised by a
    medical professional (i.e. athletic trainer, physical therapist, concussion specialist)
    • Step 1 – After full return to school, symptom free for 24 hours
    • Step 2 - Light aerobic exercise with the goal to increase heart rate
      • Example: 15 minutes stationary bike or walking
      • Restricted from weight lifting, jumping, running, contact of any kind
    • Step 3 – Moderate exercise with the goal to increase heart rate and include more
      • Example: 15 minutes running on elliptical, moderate-intensity weight-lifting
    • Step 4 - Non-contact training drills in practice
      • Allowed to practice without any scrimmaging, should participate in drills and
        running exercises
    • Step 5 - Full contact practice
      • Athlete needs to participate in a full contact practice before being cleared to play
        in a game. All drills and scrimmage work should result in no increase in
    • Step 6 - Return to competition (game play)
      • If any symptoms arise during any point in the process, the athlete will typically start
        back at step 2. If necessary, the athletic trainer will contact treating physician for
        progression clearance


  • Remember: It’s better to miss a game than to miss the whole season.


Home Care Instructions

  • No school the next day – recommended but not required
  • No need to wake student athlete up during the night unless there was a loss of consciousness during the process of getting the concussion
  • Sleep as much as possible
  • No alcohol
  • No spicy foods
  • Only Tylenol/Acetaminophen (NOTHING ELSE: No Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen,
  • No sleeping tablets
  • No technology - phone, computer, IPod, TV, video games
  • No physical activity or extra curricular activities until cleared
  • Call 911/go to ER if these symptoms arise
    • Vomiting, vomiting blood
    • Intense headache, increase in headache
    • Passing out
    • Rapid memory loss
    • Can’t recognize people or places
    • Behave unusually
    • Seem confused
    • Extremely irritable
    • Have seizures
    • Weak/numb arms/legs
    • Slurred speech

Upper Merion Athletic Trainers
Kristen Gaucker, MS, LAT, ATC;
Office: 610-205-3905
Cell: 610-960-3593

Christian Loedel, LAT, ATC;
Office: 610-205-3905
Cell: 610-247-2120

Updated 1/2021