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Experience with Canada’s First Policy on Concussion Education and Management in Schools

  • Laureen D. Hachem (a1) (a2), George Kourtis (a3), Swapna Mylabathula (a2) and Charles H. Tator (a1) (a4)

Abstract

Background: In response to the rising incidence of concussions among children and adolescents, the province of Ontario recently introduced the Ontario Policy/Program Memorandum on Concussions (PPM No. 158) requiring school boards to develop a concussion protocol. As this is the first policy of its kind in Canada, the impact of the PPM is not yet known. Methods: An electronic survey was sent to all high school principals in the Toronto District School Board 1 year after announcement of the PPM. Questions covered extent of student, parent, and staff concussion education along with concussion management protocols. Results: Of 109 high school principals contacted, 39 responded (36%). Almost all schools provided concussion education to students (92%), with most education delivered through physical education classes. Nearly all schools had return to play (92%) and return to learn (77%) protocols. Although 85% of schools educated staff on concussions, training was aimed at individuals involved in sports/physical education. Only 43.6% of schools delivered concussion education to parents, and many principals requested additional resources in this area. Conclusions: One year after announcement of the PPM, high schools in the Toronto District School Board implemented significant student concussion education programs and management protocols. Staff training and parent education required further development. A series of recommendations are provided to aid in future concussion policy development.

Politique en matière de gestion des commotions cérébrales et de formation : l’expérience pionnière d’écoles secondaires canadiennes. Contexte: En réponse à l’incidence croissante de commotions cérébrales chez les enfants et les adolescents, le gouvernement ontarien a récemment fait paraître une note (Politiques des Conseils scolaires sur les commotions cérébrales, No 158) exigeant de ces conseils qu’ils élaborent un protocole en matière de gestion des commotions cérébrales. L’impact d’une telle note demeure toutefois inconnu dans la mesure où il s’agit de la première initiative de ce genre au Canada. Méthodes: Une année après l’annonce de cette politique gouvernementale, nous avons envoyé un questionnaire électronique à toutes les directions d’établissements secondaires du Conseil scolaire du district de Toronto. Nos questions ont abordé l’étendue de la formation donnée aux élèves, aux parents et au personnel en ce qui concerne les commotions cérébrales et les protocoles de gestion de ces mêmes commotions. Résultats: Des 109 directeurs ou directrices ayant été contactés, 39 ont répondu au questionnaire (36%). Presque toutes les écoles (92%) avaient offert à leurs élèves une formation concernant les commotions cérébrales, la plupart d’entre elles le faisant dans le cadre de leurs cours d’éducation physique. De plus, presque toutes les écoles pouvaient compter sur des protocoles de retour au jeu (92%) et de retour en classe (77%). Bien que 85 % des écoles ayant répondu au questionnaire veillaient à former leur personnel en ce qui a trait aux commotions cérébrales, l’offre de formation était destinée avant tout aux membres du personnel actifs dans les sports et en éducation physique. Seulement 43,6% des écoles avaient offert aux parents de la formation concernant les commotions cérébrales, de nombreux directeurs et directrices ayant demandé des ressources additionnelles à ce chapitre. Conclusions: Une année après le lancement de cette politique gouvernementale, on peut dire que les établissements secondaires de Conseil scolaire du district de Toronto ont mis sur pied des programmes de formation et des protocoles de gestion des commotions cérébrales notables. Cela dit, tant la formation du personnel que celle des parents devraient être améliorées. À cet égard, nous avons fourni une série de recommandations qui pourront, dans l’avenir, constituer un apport dans l’élaboration de politiques en matière de gestion des commotions cérébrales.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Charles H. Tator, University of Toronto, Division of Neurosurgery, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst St. Room 4W-422, Toronto, ON M5T 2S8, Canada. E-mail: charles.tator@uhn.ca

References

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