• What is a Concussion?

    A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that interferes with normal brain function. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head can result in a concussion.

    The understanding of sports-related concussion has evolved dramatically in recent years. We now know that young athletes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a concussion. Once considered little more than a "ding" on the head, it is now understood that a concussion has the potential to result in short or long-term changes in brain function, or in some cases, death.

    The terms "ding" and "bell-ringer" were once used to refer to minor head injuries and thought to be a normal part of sports. There is no such thing as a minor brain injury. Any suspected concussion must be taken seriously. A concussion is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Any force that transmits to the head causes the brain to literally bounce around or twist within the skull, potentially resulting in a concussion. It used to be believed that a player had to lose consciousness or be "knocked out" to have a concussion. This is not true, as the vast majority of concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, less than 10% of players actually lose consciousness with a concussion. Once a blow to the head occurs, the brain is vulnerable to further injury and very sensitive to any increased stress until it fully recovers. While there is damage to brain cells, the damage is at a microscopic level and cannot be seen on MRI or CT scans therefore, the brain looks normal on these tests, even though it has been seriously injured.

    Concussion Management Plan

    If you have questions, please feel free to contact Dave Zittleman, Activities Director, Bismarck Public Schools, (701) 323-4079, or by email.

    BPS Concussion Management Plan Document

    Bismarck Public Schools Concussion Management Plan 
    The Bismarck Public School District along their Sports Medicine Provider have established a Concussion Management Plan that will be followed when treating a student-athlete who has or is suspected of having a concussion.

    Sports Concussion-Graduated "Return-to-Play" Protocol

    Sanford Graduated RTP Protocol

    Guidelines for exercise progression from your Health Care Provider

    Sway Concussion Baseline testing, Sideline evaluation, Return-to-learn and Return-to-play Testing

    Bismarck Public Schools and Sanford Health will no longer be using the ImPACT baseline and post-injury testing for concussion care. Instead, starting with the 2023-24 school year, BPS and Sanford will utilize an app from Sway Medical for all concussion baseline testing, sideline evaluation and return-to-learn and return-to-play for all student-athletes grades 9-12 participating in athletics prior to the start of their competitive season. With Sway, we are able to establish balance and cognitive baselines in roughly 20 minutes for all our student-athletes at once that have a mobile device to use. The mobile dashboard for the athletic trainer allows them to monitor each athlete’s progress through the baseline session in real time.

    Criteria for those who need to take a Baseline Test is listed below: 

    • Baseline testing needs to be done for ALL participants in grades 9-12 for ALL sports before the date of your first competition.
    • Athletes cannot participate in competition without a baseline test.
    • Athletes will need to bring their smartphone or tablet to testing with Sway app already downloaded.
      • Testing CANNOT be completed using a laptop/Chromebook.
      • In addition to athletes in grades 9-12 participating in sports, baseline testing will also include…..
        • Any 7th or 8th grader that will be up practicing or competing with the varsity and/or sub-varsity programs.
        • Any co-op student athlete from another school that participates on a BPS sponsored team.
      • All 7th and 8th grade football players

    Testing times will be arranged and supervised by a Certified Athletic Trainer. If a student is a multi-sport athlete, the student will only be required to take the baseline exam once in a school year. 

    Athletes will need to bring their smartphone or tablet to testing with the Sway app already downloaded  

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    Click Here to learn more about Sway.  

    Concussion Education (Free Concussion Managment Course)

    In accordance with North Dakota State Law (NDCC 15.1-18.2-04) regarding concussion management, each official, coach, and athletic trainer receive biennial training regarding the nature and risk of concussion.

    ALL Bismarck Public School District coaches (head, assistant, volunteer, etc.) are required to complete the free Concussion in Sport - What You Need to Know course on the National Federation of State High School Activities website.

    It is highly recommended that every BPS student-athlete and parent/guardian should successfully complete the free 60 minute NFHS online course "Concussion in Sports".

    Click HERE for step by step directions on how to register and complete the free NFHS Learn Concussion In Sports course.

    Click HERE to complete the free NFHS Learn Concussion in Sports course.

    The NFHS has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to educate coaches, officials, parents and students on the importance of proper concussion recognition and management in high school sports. This course highlights the impact of sports-related concussion on athletes, teaches how to recognize a suspected concussion, and provides protocols to manage a suspected concussion with steps to help players return to play safely after a concussion.  Each state's requirements for concussion management are included as part of the course. 

    COACHES: Once the course is completed, a copy of the certificate of completion must submitted. A certificate from each individual coach is required, this MAY NOT be done as a group activity and one certificate submitted for the group as proof of completion.

    The following forms provide important information in the event a student-athlete has sustained a head, chest or abdominal injury.

    Head Injury Guidelines

    Sports Concussion (Sideline instructions from your Health Care Provider)Sports Medicine Head Injury Guidelines 

    Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Sports Concussion sideline instructions

    NDHSAA Concussion Management

    Click Here for North Dakota High School Activities Association Concussion Manangement Policy.

    NDHSAA Concussion Management Information

    NATA Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion

    CLICK HERE to view position statement.