News Release

Friday, June 10, 2011

Contact: Ridgely Ingersoll, 668-9087 Ridgely.Ingersoll@chkd.org

Chesapeake schools adopt concussion guidelines with help of CHKD sports medicine team

Chesapeake, Va., June 11, 2011 - Students who play sports in Virginia public schools next year will learn about more than signals, plays and what to expect from their opponents. They should also be given a thorough education about the symptoms and dangers of concussions, according to the requirements of legislation passed during the 2010 session of the Virginia General Assembly.

That legislation gives local school divisions until July 1, 2011, to develop policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student athletes. 

Thanks to a partnership with CHKD's Sports Medicine Program, Chesapeake schools are prepared well in advance of that deadline. The school board formally adopted a sports concussion management plan May 9, and many of its guidelines have been in use in the schools since practice started for fall sports last summer. 

Work on Chesapeake's policies started last July, when the school system awarded a contract for athletic training services to CHKD's Sports Medicine Program through a competitive bid process. One of the CHKD physicians associated with the program, medical director Joel S. Brenner, MD, helped write the concussion legislation as well as the Virginia Board of Education guidelines that will shape local policies. Brenner is also chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Sports Medicine Council, which released the nation's only sports concussion guidelines specifically for children and adolescents last fall.

Having 12 CHKD certified athletic trainers in Chesapeake schools this year really helped us understand the challenges and opportunities that school systems face in managing sports concussions," Brenner said. "The biggest lesson we learned is that the schools alone can't protect students. It has to be a collaborative effort between coaches, medical providers, teachers, parents and the athletes, who must learn the importance of reporting their symptoms and waiting until they are fully recovered to return to play."

CPS Concussion Policy
Dr. Brenner and Mitch Callis, ATC, manager of CHKD's athletic training services, worked closely with Wayne Martin, the school system's director of student services and Jim Cleavenger, its supervisor of student activities to develop the guidelines.
"Our goal is to protect Chesapeake's student athletes from the serious consequences that can result from multiple concussions or a second concussion before the first one has healed," said Martin. "The long-term health and well-being of our students is our top priority," he adds. 

"Chesapeake Public Schools enjoys an effective and professional working relationship with the entire CHKD Sports Medicine Program. I look forward to continuing to provide for the safety of our student-athletes in cooperation with the medical expertise provided by Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters,” stated Dr. James T. Roberts, Superintendent of Chesapeake Public Schools. He went on to say that the Certified Athletic Trainers have demonstrated an impressively high level of medical care, giving peace of mind for those within the Chesapeake Public Schools athletic community. 

CHKD Sports Medicine program is the region's only sports medicine program dedicated exclusively to the needs of young athletes. The program offers comprehensive care including diagnosis, surgical and non-surgical treatments, sports medicine physical therapy, certified athletic training and community and professional education.  In addition to Brenner and Callis, program staff members include surgical director Marc Cardelia, MD; pediatric orthopedic surgeon Ole Rautol, MD; manager Kim Kranz, DScPT; and more than 30 pediatric sports medicine physical therapists and certified athletic trainers. More information is available:www.chkd.org/concussions.