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School adopts new concussion protocol

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
St. Joseph’s Grade 3 English student Molly McMurrich displays new stickers employed by the Northwest Catholic District School Board to help teachers keep tabs on kids who may display concussion symptoms. Photo by Chris Marchand

By Chris Marchand

As knowledge of concussions and head injuries grow, a local elementary school is adopting a new protocol to keep a watchful eye on kids who have bumped their heads.

St. Joseph’s Catholic School and the Northwest Catholic District School Board have brought a three-part system on line to assess, document and monitor suspected head injuries.

If a student receives a blow to the head, face or neck and is suspected to have a concussion, first-aid personnel at the school have new tools like flowcharts to assess whether medical attention should be sought immediately, or if a student could remain in the school setting under observation. Phone calls are made home to inform parents of the incident and forms are completed and sent home detailing symptoms.

Kids who have bumped their heads will also wear a sticker throughout the day to indicate to all staff that the child should be monitored closely for symptoms of concussion.

“We’re observing them more closely than we used to,” said Educational Assistant (EA) Sandy Botelho. “By using the stickers there is that communication throughout the whole school. I think there’s more awareness of concussions these days in the media and in sports, so now it’s moving into schools.”

On the frontline of most playground bumps and bruises, EA Kim Downton says it’s important to know what kind of injuries kids are bringing to school with them from outside.

“A lot of times, if a kid has bumped their head at hockey, parents will call the school just so we can be more aware on the playground and keep an eye out for those kids,” said Downton.

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