Academic Accommodations for a Countywide Concussion High School Program

Authors: Ashley D. Lopez, M.S.; Michelle Shnayder; Bryan Pomares, M.H.S.; Jonathan Siegel; Kester Nedd, D.O.; Gillian Hotz, Ph.D.

Corresponding Author:
Gillian Hotz, Ph.D.
1095 NW 14th Ter
Miami, FL 33136
ghotz@med.miami.edu
302-243-4004

Gillian A. Hotz, PhD is a research professor at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine and a nationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist and expert in pediatric and adult neurotrauma, concussion management, and neurorehabilitation. Dr. Hotz is the director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center, WalkSafe and BikeSafe programs, and has been co-director of the Miller School of Medicine’s Concussion Program since 1995. She continues to assess and treat many athletes from Miami-Dade County public and private high schools, University of Miami, and from other colleges and the community.
Academic Accommodations for a Countywide Concussion High School Program

ABSTRACT

Purpose
To describe a symptom-based distribution of Return to Learn school academic accommodations for adolescent student-athletes recovering from sports-related concussions that can be facilitated as part of their post-injury clinical care. The aim was also to explore demographic and recovery differences between those patients who received and did not receive accommodations.

Method
Adolescent student-athletes from 35 public high schools were eligible for this study. Data collected included their demographics, clinical assessment, and ImPACT (ImPACT Applications, Inc.) testing performance prior to and following a concussion. Student-athletes receiving accommodations were compared with an age-matched comparison group that did not receive accommodations.

Results
Between January 2014 and January 2017, 308 Miami-Dade County public high school student-athletes were seen at the University of Miami’s UConcussion Clinic. Of these, 72 received school accommodations and 236 did not. The first clinical visit for these athletes was a mean of 14 days post injury with mean recovery time and return to play of 25 days. Significant differences were found among female student-athletes as well as patients reporting more initial symptoms despite similar demographics and baseline ImPACT scores.

Conclusions
Concussed adolescent student-athletes, particularly females, reporting greater symptom complaints during their first clinical encounter, may benefit most from a collaborative treatment approach including school accommodations that are individualized and specifically targeted. Future research should continue to investigate accommodation adherence and long-term concussion recovery.

Applications In Sports
Student-athletes receiving academic accommodations may return to play sooner, as academic accommodations allow them to recover from injuries at a quicker pace.
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