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Concussion Awareness

Concussions and other brain injuries can be serious and potentially life threatening. If managed properly, most athletes can enjoy long careers in sports after a concussion. Research indicates that these injuries can also have serious consequences later in life if not managed properly. Dexter Southfield has developed procedures to ensure the safety and well-being of all student athletes. The full concussion management and medical protocols are available from the athletic training staff and will be used for Dexter and Southfield student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion.

A concussion occurs when there is a direct or indirect injury to the brain. As a result, transient impairment of mental functions such as memory, balance/equilibrium, and vision may occur. It is important to recognize that many sport-related concussions do not result in loss of consciousness and, therefore, all suspected head injuries should be taken seriously. Coaches, parents and fellow teammates can be helpful in identifying those who may potentially have a concussion, because a concussed athlete may not be aware of his or her condition or may be trying to hide the injury to stay in the game or practice.‚Äč

Management Procedures

Concussion management begins with pre-season baseline testing via SAC, BESS and/or ImPACT neurocognitive testing. It is strongly recommended that students in grades 7-12 at Dexter Southfield School take a pre-season baseline assessment for concussion that will remain on hand in the event of a concussion. It is also strongly recommended that parents and student-athletes take the online course prior to the start of each school year. Visit for more information.
If an athlete sustains a sports-related head injury, including a suspected concussion, the athletic trainer or school nurse must be notified immediately so that concussion assessment can be administered. If an athlete sustains a concussion, the athletic trainer, school nurse, or coach will notify parents and appropriate school staff and follow the protocol established for concussion management.
At away events, when there is no qualified medical professional/licensed athletic trainer available, all coaching staff will abide by, "When in doubt, sit them out," put forth by the Center for Disease Control.
If any danger signs are exhibited as described on the "signs of concussion" page, a parent/guardian must be contacted immediately and the athlete must be brought to an Emergency Room by Emergency Medical Service. The athletic training office should be notified as soon as possible.

When may an athlete return from injury?

If it is determined that an athlete has a concussion he will be out of competition until that athlete is cleared for participation by a physician. No player shall go from being sidelined with a concussion to activity until he has followed the recommended stepwise process to return to activity from the treating physician. Each athlete will likely have an individual course of recovery which may depend upon prior medical history of concussion. Each student who is removed from practice or competition shall have a written graduated re-entry plan for return to full academic and extracurricular athletic activities. The plan, put forth by the treating physician, shall be communicated with the student’s teachers, adviser, school nurse, certified athletic trainer, parent, and other support personnel as appropriate and in consultation with the student’s primary care provider or the treating physician. This written plan shall include instructions for a student, parent(s), and school personnel addressing physical and cognitive rest, graduated return to academics and athletics, assessment frequencies, as appropriate, by the school nurse, physician, team physician or athletic trainer until full return to academics and athletics is authorized. A plan for communication and coordination shall also be put into place with the above individuals who are managing the student’s recovery. The student must be completely symptom free and medically cleared in order to begin graduated re-entry (stepwise program) to activities.
Final authority for return-to-play shall reside with the team physician at Dexter Southfield School in conjunction with the school athletic training staff.

Signs and Symptoms

An athlete may report one or more of the following symptoms: 
Headache or "pressure" in head; double or fuzzy vision; dizziness; tinnitus (ringing in the ears); nausea; just doesn’t "feel right;" sensitivity to light and/or noise; feeling sluggish, foggy, or groggy; concentration/memory problems; confusion.

One or more of the following symptoms may be observed in the athlete: 
Loss of consciousness; appears dazed or stunned; moves clumsily; unsure of score, opponent, date, etc.; can’t recall events prior to incident; can’t recall events after incident; answers questions slowly; confused about what to do—assignments, position, etc.; forgets an instruction; shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

At the discretion of the athletic trainer (if available) or coach, an athlete should receive immediate medical attention for the following dangerous symptoms of a concussion. These include any of the following:
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Difficulty recognizing people or places
  • Extreme drowsiness or cannot be awakened
  • Any weakness or numbness
  • Headache worsens or does not go away after 24 hours


When a student-athlete shows any signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion, the athlete shall be immediately removed from practice or competition and evaluated by the athletic trainer and/or the student’s healthcare provider. It is recommended the student be evaluated by a health care specialist with experience in the evaluation and management of concussion.
  • A student-athlete diagnosed with a concussion shall be withheld from the competition or practice and not return to activity for the remainder of that day.
  • Parents/Guardian should be notified at once.
  • The student-athlete should be monitored for signs of deterioration.
  • The student-athlete should be evaluated by a concussion specialist or if at school, by the Dexter Southfield athletic trainer.
  • Return to play will follow a medically supervised stepwise process which should be initiated by the concussion specialist in communication with the athletic training staff.

Athletic Trainers and Team Physician

Athletic Trainers

Ryan Donovan 
Athletic Trainer
Endicott College - B.S.

Team Physician

Dr. William Meehan 
Director, Sports Concussion Clinic at Children's Hospital Boston


Dexter Southfield School • 617-522-5544 •

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