Featured Videos

Virginia Concussion Initiative Works Alongside Schools to Develop Protocols Guidelines (Part Two)

One of the key reasons for the Virginia Concussion Initiative was the realization that the one- size-fits-all approach from some of the national and even international messaging sources don’t always consider local resources and the ability of local communities and medical providers to have the ability to quickly implement best practices in their particular community.

Explains Dr. Shane V. Caswell, who has spearheaded this initiative, “Our first thing that we addressed was to understand the barriers to implementing best practices in our Virginia schools.”

Challenges facing school districts include rapidly changing science, a difficulty keeping pace with constantly changing requirements, and marshalling necessary resources and personnel to implement best practices and concussion management within the schools.

“We worked closely alongside our schools from a 360 degree perspective gathering information from all stakeholders involved in concussion management in the schools,” says Dr. Caswell.

What they learned within the first couple of phases of the Virginia Concussion Initiative was that school districts want tools that can be tailored to fit what they can realistically provide.

“We realized that schools needed tools that could be modified, that could be templates for them to use,” he explains. “Tools are being developed for primary schools all the way through secondary schools and individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as some pre-K assessment tools.  The tools range from how to appropriately form a concussion management team in your school division, to how to develop policy, and we have created some model policies for schools. We’ve attempted to be mindful of things such as whether or not it’s a large school, a small school, highly resourced, not as well resourced, and providing tools for the web that are modifiable, so that they can be downloaded and used as needed.”

Tools are available through a web-based resource that’s been vetted by the Virginia Concussion Initiative team of experts. The goal is that schools have a one-stop shop where they access the tools that meet their particular needs in providing effective best practice concussion management for students.

“This should, we expect, reduce some of the confusion and the many voices on the topic of concussion management best practices and the advancement of the science to be more useful for all of our schools and meet them where they are at,” says Dr. Caswell.

Virginia Concussion Initiative Includes Telementoring for Medical Communities (Part three)

For the past few years, a group of medical professionals and educators have been working together to develop effective concussion management tools for schools in Virginia.

The head of the Virginia Concussion Initiative (VCI), Dr. Shane V. Caswell, says the group has developed an a la carte menu of tools that schools can select from that best fit their particular situation, resources, personnel, etc. “We’ve developed tools, and guidance that will provide suggestions as to the types of tools that they should consider using, for concussion assessment. Appropriate, effective patient interviewing techniques will be included and suggested not only for school providers but also for teachers on how to talk to kids about concussion,” explains Dr. Caswell.

For example, there is a set of recommendations for teachers to help them identify symptoms of children in their classroom who may be experiencing concussion-related symptoms. And there is information for parents and caregivers to help them ask the right questions when taking their child to the doctor with a possible concussion, and what information they should report back to the school.

On the medical side of the equation, telementoring programming is being developed that will specifically target community providers and school-based medical providers. Says Dr. Caswell, “One of our goals is to bring these two groups together, through this telementoring community and to create local networks to create awareness from the school’s perspective about what are the local resources available in the community, and who are the local experts, and experts available throughout the state.”

Zoom technology will be used to bring together community members from various backgrounds to work with experts on the VCI, to identify ways in which they can facilitate communication between medical providers in the local community and in the schools and how they can best serve the teachers and the schools and the students, in their community.

“We’re all here to help support young minds of Virginia, right? We’re all here to try to ensure, that kids, number one, don’t suffer a concussion as much as we can, reduce the risk of it. But if they do that, they can recover as quickly and as fully as possible,” says Dr. Caswell.