CAPP for your team, town, school or league

Concussion Awareness & Prevention Program (CAPP)  was created by The Concussion Center’s Director of Community Education, Katherine Snedaker, MSW, to fold all the available general recourses of concussion information into an useable, focused format.  The CAPP plan is designed to assist your team, town, school or league begin to take steps and create a protocol to address concussions in your sport.

Due to the increase in awareness of youth sports concussions and new ligation in almost every state, most states are rushing to pass concussion laws to protect their public school middle school and high school players.  But what about town, rec and independent school athletes?  Players in these leagues and schools do not currently fall under the CT law.

CT Laws may be passed in the future to protect these groups, but it is simply a case of best practice for all sports organizations now to create concussion plans.

The CT Concussion Law was passed in 2009, and came into effect on July 1, 2010. For the full version of the law, click here Full version.  This law is working well so far in public schools and should be using it as a guide to make youth sports program safer for all players.

1) Pre-Season Education & Training

The first piece of any concussion plan is Pre-Season Education and Training for coaches, parents and players to increase recognition of a concussion. This is an essential step because if your coaches, parents and players cannot recognize the signs of a concussion they cannot use any of the information they have learned or know when to pull a player from play.  There are many sources of training available for teams and towns.  While it is always best to have a live instructor and a captive audience with a presentation and a Q & A, given today’s busy world it is not possible to train every person this way.  There are Internet courses that vary from a simple free course to longer length trainings which have a fee.  We recommend a combination of approaches to be able to train all your staff and volunteers given scheduling and time restraints.

Along with training, there are many FREE sources of materials on concussions to give to coaches, parents and players.  There are flyers, cards, clipboards, posters, magnets and stickers. Many national organizations have sports specific materials such as US Lacrosse and USA Hockey.

2) A Plan for Baseline ImPACT Testing

The second piece of a CAPP plan is Baseline Testing for all players over the age of 11. This testing is required once every two years so the plan should take into account the cyclic nature of testing.

What is neuro-cognitive testing?  Neuro-cognitive testing is used to assist a trained healthcare provider in the assessment and management of concussion.

In the best case, a baseline test is obtained for the athlete before the sports season begins.  In the event of an injury, the athlete will be tested again to determine if there are any changes in the way his/her brain functions after this injury, by comparing the “before” and “after injury” tests.  At The Concussion Center,  The ImPACT Test is used for baseline and post-injury neuro-cognitive testing for most of our patients. ImPACT is a 20 minute computer based test that evaluates multiple aspects of brain function including verbal memory, visual memory, processing speed, reaction time and post-concussive symptoms.

  • Who can take it?  Children ages 11 to adult.  With new advances to the test, even children with ADHD or Learning Disabilities can now take the test.
  • How long is the test good for? It should be repeated every two years in the middle and high school years due to rapid brain development.
  • Cost? The baseline test is not covered by insurance and costs $35 in the office. In a group setting for a team, town or school, the discounted rate of $28 per person.
  • Who offers the testing?  The Concussion Center offers baseline testing for individuals and teams in Fairfield and Westchester Counties. We partner with Western Connecticut Concussion Center to provide education and testing in the Danbury, Southbury, Waterbury and New Milford area.
  • Who do I contact to learn more or to schedule testing?  For individual testing at our center please call our office and speak with Pat.  If you would like to arrange group baseline testing for your team, town or school, please contact Katherine Snedaker by calling the office or emailing her at Katherine Price Snedaker.

3) A Plan for an Athlete’s Removal from Play

Once the coaches and players are trained and the parents know what to expect, then A Plan for an Athlete’s Removal from Play for a “suspected” concussion can be created. All staff should sign off on these guidelines in order to be able to coach a team and parents will now be aware of when a player will be pulled from play.

4) A Plan for Return-to-play Protocol. 

After a concussion occurs and is confirmed by a trained medical provider, each team should have a Return-to-play plan to return a player to their sport under the guidance of a health care professional so coaches are not liable to make a return-to-play decision.  This liability issue will be become a bigger factor for coaches if the current group of concussion law suits are settled holding coaches and schools liable for the injuries to players who are returned to the game without medical clearance after a hit to the head.

Click here for an example of a college level concussion plan – Princeton’s University Concussion Plan. This document is for the college level team and does not reflect a communication with parents that youth programs need to address.  Parents and coach communication at the time of a concussion is essential so medical staff can now what happened during and directly after an injury.

If you have any questions on any of the topics above or on a overall CAPP Plan, our staff is always here to help you with information, assist in setting up these programs or work with you to meet the specific needs of your team, town, school or league.  Please call or email Katherine Price Snedaker, MSW.

Concussions Occur in Any Sport