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Know your role in facilitating and enabling successful return-to-school for students after a concussion

Healthcare Professionals

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The role of healthcare professionals in helping a student return-to-school

It is important for you to know and understand the role of healthcare professionals and how you can work with them to help a student with concussion. Here are some things you should know:

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It is important for healthcare professionals to lead a team-communication approach to provide the best outcomes in the shortest time possible for a student with a concussion.

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The student needs to have an official diagnosis of a concussion from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. It is beneficial to seek medical care from someone who has experience in working with youth with concussion. These healthcare professionals diagnose a concussion by asking the student about their injury and symptoms, combined with other medical assessments.

Try this

Are you a healthcare professional looking for an effective way to communicate a student’s diagnosis and needs with their educators?  Try this ‘medical assessment letter’ template.

Download »

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Healthcare professionals should provide education to the student and family, complete return-to-school and play paperwork, and provide any additional information to support the student upon their return-to-school. Concepts of rest and how to return-to-school and activity in a gradual fashion are key.

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A complete return-to-school must happen before returning to play, sports or risky activities where another concussion could take place. The school principal should be advised that the student has a temporary disability and cannot do all the things they were able to do in the way they could normally until symptoms have improved. At this point, the healthcare professionals may request appropriate supports to be made for the student at school so that return-to-school happens safely. Work with the student, family and healthcare professionals to adjust supports to meet the student’s abilities during their recovery.

An important note!

Before a student returns to sports or risky activities, they should have:

  • Returned to school and be able to handle the full academic workload;
  • Completed a return-to-play protocol; and
  • Received medical clearance

Try this

Looking for a way to communicate a student’s medical clearance to their educators?  Try this ‘Medical Clearance Letter’ template.

Download »

For more information, see OPHEA and Parachute Canada’s Return to School and Return to Physical Activity Stages as an example of a resource to guide you through this process.