Schools play a pivotal role in facilitating a child with a concussion’s recovery while also providing a balance in keeping them on track to complete coursework and maintain graduation progress.  School officials and teachers must determine the best way to educate the child by determining the appropriate accommodations to help them heal.  These decisions cannot be made by medical professionals as they are the burden of the school district.

Resources for School Districts

Trainings soon to be available for school districts

  1. Teacher Training: Initial information on concussions and how to teach a child with a concussion.
  2. Principal/Administrator Training: designing a Return to Learn Protocol
  3. Athletic Director/Coaches Training: Identification of concussions and Return to play protocols.
  4. Parent/Community Training: Initial information on concussions and how to help your child with a concussion return to learning.
  5. Brainsteps Website


Is your district/school ready? | A self-assessment for concussion response readiness.

  1. Have all of your teachers, administrators, counselors, nurses and coaches been trained on the following?
    1. Understanding a concussion
    2. How to recognize the symptoms
    3. How to assist a child and their parents to get an evaluation
    4. How to work with a child with a concussion to assist in the recovery process while still helping them maintain some degree of normalcy.
  2. Does your school have an Official Concussion Management Team who have gone through some form of official training/certification?
  3. Does your school have a policy on Concussion Management?
  4. Does your school have a Concussion Return to Learning Protocol that clearly delegates responsibility among identified staff role players and facilitates communication and accommodations?
  5. Does your protocol have a step where medical recommendations are interpreted into accommodations prior to being distributed to teachers and other staff members? In other words, are you passing the doctor’s recommendations straight on to the teachers or is there a consideration and interpretation step where your personnel are writing accommodations and making educational decisions in the best interest of the child?  Many districts are currently making the mistake of neglecting their educational responsibility by passing the doctors recommendations straight to the teachers without interpretation.
  6. How does your school/district make decisions regarding initiating evaluations for 504’s and IEP’s? Is that a protocol driven approach?
  7. How does your school/district make modifications to the accommodations or return to learn plan for a child as their concussion symptoms shift during recovery? (i.e. if they become photo-sensitive or start having migraines during the school day)
  8. How are all the stakeholders receiving updates and information regarding the child’s current and changing status during their concussion recovery?
  9. Who is the primary point of contact regarding the child’s concussion status for parents? Doctors? Teachers?
  10. Have your district solicitors reviewed and approved your school/district’s concussion return to learn protocol?
  11. How are records maintained in regards to decisions made during a child’s concussion recovery? Who maintains them?  Where are they stored?  Where do they fall on your district’s records retention policy?
  12. Do teachers have a way to communicate the symptoms they see during the class period they teach the child with a concussion? Where does that information go?  What is it used for? Is it provided to parents and the treating medical professionals?
  13. Does your school/district have an initial set of accommodations to make for a child who is thought to have a concussion but has not yet been officially diagnosed? The first few days of a concussion are crucial for recovery and are often without official medical diagnosis and recommendations.
  14. Are all the roles of everyone who would be involved in assisting with a child’s concussion return to learn protocol clearly defined in writing? How and to whom is this information distributed?
  15. How are parents made aware of your school/district’s concussion return to learn protocol?

Medical Professionals Collaborating with Schools

Collaboration between schools, parents, and medical professionals is essential to the recovery and maintenance of normalcy for a child with a concussion’s physical and mental health.

Parent Checklist

  • Verify the school nurse has been informed of your child's concussion.
  • Whenever you receive updated medical recommendations regarding your child's concussion, ensure the school nurse has received them.
  • Whenever changes are noticed in your child's condition, notify the school nurse.
  • If you have questions regarding academics, contact your child's school counselor.
  • If you have concerns regarding the implementation of concussion accommodations, contact your child's administrator.
  • If you have course specific concerns, start by contacting the teacher directly.  If not addressed, contact your child's administrator.
  • Typically the school counselor is your child's primary academic monitor, the nurse their medical monitor, and the principal oversees the entire operation.

If you would like to schedule a meeting with your child's concussion management team (CMT), you typically call the main phone number and request the clerical person who schedules the counselors and administrators.  Do not  show up at the school unannounced demanding to meet immediately as the school personnel are typically scheduled in meetings throughout the day with other parents and families who appropriately scheduled meetings.

Are there any advocacy groups for concussions? Visit our resources pages. BRAINSTEPS is another provided free of charge through the county based Intermediate Units Associated with your child's school.  Google either for details.

School Administrators

Typically, it is the administrator's responsibility to establish  the flow of communication both within your school and outward to medical providers and parents. See our School Programs page for more information.

An administrator should oversee the writing and communication of accommodations based on medical recommendations in a similar fashion as they do in the role of the Local Education Agency (LEA) in special education.

A communication for two-way communication between all parties (Parents, nurse, counselor, student, teachers, and medical providers) should be established and clearly articulated in writing.


Teachers should not only be recipients of updates regarding academic accommodations, but should also provide input regarding a child's status in their class.  For example, if they are noticing physical symptoms that might be increasing during the duration of the class period or due to the time of day (complaint of a high level of headache earlier or later in the school day), that information should be made known to the Concussion Management Team (CMT).

If the school's concussion response protocol is established, there should be a component of that protocol that solicits input/information from teachers based on their observations on a weekly basis.

If a school does not yet have a formalized concussion response protocol, teachers should email any input/information they have to the child's counselor and nurse.

It is imperative for teachers to be in regular communication with the student, parents, and school CMT regarding missed assignments, exempted assignments, grading decisions, and the ways in which they are following the accommodations to assist the student's recovery.   This information should be documented via email at a minimum.

As grading periods are coming to a close, the academic status of a student with a concussion should be clearly communicated to the student, parents, and CMT.

Teachers should plan to advocate for the best accommodations for their student that they have seen based on what has worked or not worked.


A coach should keep their coaching staff and all role players with the team informed of the child's condition and place in the return to play protocol to ensure the level of their participation is approved by the medical providers overseeing their recovery/treatment.

Coaches should communicate the possibility of a concussion to a trainer at the moment it is noticed.  They should follow up and ensure the parent of the player has been notified.  They should consider the nature of the situation in which the concussion may have occurred.  This information will assist the medical providers.

A coach should ensure the notice of possible concussion is provided to the school nurse or the members of the CMT at the school as soon as they are able following the incident.

A coach should receive all communications regarding updates associated with their player's concussion including academic accommodations and return to play protocol recommendations from the medical providers.

Medical Professionals

Medical providers should ask about whether or not a child with a concussion is currently scheduled for PE or participating in an athletic activity at the school.  Recommendations regarding those should be included along with academic recommendations.

Schools typically reevaluate a child's status each month, so recommendations and appointments should occur at least every four weeks.

A school rely's upon the diagnosis and recommendations for academic and physical activity.

Medical providers make suggestions and recommendations for the school to consider in assisting a child with a concussion return to school.  The school makes all final educational decisions in the best interest of the child.

Educational decisions cannot be passed on to medical providers, but must be made by the Local Education Agency (LEA).

Medical providers should provide parents and the school nurse their updated recommendations.

Signed releases to disclose and receive information regarding a child's concussion should be completed by the parent and on file at both the school and the medical provider's office.

Medical providers should request updates from the school regarding a child's progress via input gathering forms.

For more information or for assistance in designing your district’s concussion return to learn protocol, contact us.