Process for Management of Academics for

Process for Management of Academics for Concussed Athletes
This procedure has been designed to outline the duties of an athlete with a concussion as related to the
Ferrum College Sports Medicine Department, how it handles the process for athletes who have
sustained concussions, and their return to academics. The department of sports medicine at Ferrum
College is charged with the healthcare of our student-athletes, including but not limited to the physical,
mental, and cognitive health of the student athlete. With the increasing amount of research regarding
the nature of concussions and how they may negatively impact performance in the classroom, this
document is designed to provide guidelines for setting accommodations to maximize academic
performance without delaying the healing process of a concussion.
The rapid expansion of research regarding both the medical and educational concerns of the student
athlete requires that this document may be updated as new evidence-based information becomes
A concussion is defined as a trauma induced alteration in mental status that may or may not involve a
loss of consciousness. Concussions occur from forces applied directly or indirectly to the skull that
results in the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain. The sudden change in cerebral velocity
elicits neurocognitive changes to the ionic balance and metabolism of the brain. Colloquially, a
concussion is a bruise to the brain, which causes both structural and cognitive changes that diminishes
the normal performance of the organ. Concussions occur in males and females of all ages and sports,
but are most common in contact and collision sports.
As licensed medical professionals, athletic trainers receive comprehensive didactic and clinical training
in concussion management. They are typically the first providers to identify and evaluate injured
persons. They are also in charge of post-injury management of the student-athletes.
Certain symptoms of a concussion are especially concerning in the classroom, such as headache, vision
disruption, fatigue, increased inattentiveness/diminished focus, and provocation of symptoms when
exposed to loud noises and lights. The presence of these symptoms in the athlete signifies that they are
not yet ready to return to the normal activities of the student-athlete and require modification of the
environment to maximize the healing process.
A. When a student-athlete reports clinical signs of a concussion, the Ferrum College Sports
Medicine Staff will perform a battery of diagnostic tests to determine the nature of the injury.
B. The Ferrum College Sports Medicine department will decide if the athlete has sustained a
concussion and provide immediate care, which may involve referral to an emergency
department or specialist.
C. The Ferrum College Sports Medicine department will record the nature of the cognitive injury
daily, in order to ensure the progression of the healing process. All athletes diagnosed with a
concussion must report to the Ferrum College Sports Medicine Staff in order to advance in
D. If a student does not report to the athletic training staff in a manner that allows for proper
management of a concussion, they will lose academic accommodations.
E. If the Ferrum College Sports Medicine department has reached a clinical decision that normal
academic participation is hindered by a concussion so that academic adjustments are necessary,
the athletic trainer may make the student aware that the student is eligible to submit
appropriate documentation and work through the Office of Academic Accessibility (OAA) to
access academic accommodations. Based on the severity of the injury, accommodations that
are frequently suggested include the following.
a. In cases of severe neurocognitive disruption, complete removal from the classroom may
be required.
b. If complete removal from the classroom is required, the athlete is also not allowed to
attend NCAA events, including practices, lifting sessions, and games.
c. Adjustments may be made to minimize the chance of exacerbating the injury. Examples
sampling of possible adjustments are as follows:
i. allowing a student to record a lecture to listen to the information in a more
controlled environment
ii. use of earplugs in the classroom
iii. use of sunglasses in the classroom
iv. use of discussion or oral assignments in place of written assignments and
v. allowance of a high carbohydrate snack in the classroom (if in accordance to
safety regulations)
vi. the ability to temporarily leave the classroom while class is in progress.
vii. taking tests/quizzes in a smaller setting testing center rather than a classroom
Students will follow the OAA procedures for alternate testing services if this
accommodation is to be used. Written guidelines for the procedure are
available on the OAA webpage, and the process will be explained to the student
when he/she meets with the OAA director.
viii. provision of additional time for assignments when a clock or timer is used to
determine the length of time allowed for the assignment
d. When restrictions are put in place by an athletic trainer, all restrictions will last for no
more than five academic days. For extensions of academic adjustments, a full reevaluation by both the Ferrum College Sports Medicine staff (which is already a daily
occurrence) and accessing accommodations through the Office of Academic Accessibility
is required.
e. The Ferrum College Sports Medicine Staff is required to email the Vice President of
Academic Affairs and the director of Office of Academic Accessibility that they are
referring an injured student to the Office of Academic Accessibility and the indicated
adjustments to the classroom. It is the responsibility of the student to create the
meeting time with the director and to provide OAA with written documentation from a
qualified professional.
i. If a student does not meet with OAA and does not follow procedures in the OAA
policy manual, the academic adjustments will not be put into place or
ii. The student who does not meet with the OAA director and does not follow
procedures in the OAA policy manual will not be eligible for OAA
accommodations. Faculty will not be notified if the student does not meet with
iii. Students must request academic accommodations pro-actively (prior to the
need for the accommodation); modifications, compensations, and alterations
are not retro-active. Upon request by the student, faculty will be notified.
F. If a student athlete has academic accommodations in place, the Ferrum College Sports Medicine
Department will communicate to the Office of Academic Accessibility when the adjustment are
to be modified or removed, but the accommodations will last no more than five academic days
without additional communication from the Ferrum College Sports Medicine Department.
G. After the student signs a release form, all adjustments to the learning environment of the
student athlete will be communicated to the instructors of the student athlete via e-mail by the
director of OAA.
The procedures installed for student athletes may also work for the general student population as well.
Independent medical providers acting within the scope of their practice may send classroom
adjustments with an injured student. These documents and setting up a meeting with the Office of
Academic Accessibility is the responsibility of the student. Due to the nature of the medical business,
restrictions from independent medical providers may be required to last longer than five academic days.
Athletes who choose to consult with a medical or other qualified provider instead of working with
athletic trainers may submit documentation from the qualified professional and will be eligible for
academic accommodations through OAA using the procedures used with non-athletes. Choosing not to
work in consultation with Ferrum’s Sports Medicine Program may have implications with regard to
qualifying to continue on an athletic team until the student has a medical release to return to the team.