A doctor in Pequannock, New Jersey has been instructing high school and middle school teachers how to identify and properly handle students who may suffer from brain injuries such as concussions. Dr. Paul Ostergaard, the doctor for Pequannock High School’s sports teams, told teachers that students in recovery from head injuries require complete brain rest, a Pequannock Daily Record article reported.
Complete brain rest means limiting homework, TV and video games, physical exercise, and anything else that might agitate youthful brain tissue in recovery. Ostergaard said, ‘Mental rest is just as important as physical rest,’ in the article. Ostergaard was invited to speak with teachers and staff after many of them inquired about how to better deal with students with concussions and head injuries.
The Pequannock high school nurse, Susan DeBell, started a support group for students who continue to suffer from lingering symptoms of their head injuries, such as depression, headache, dizziness, lack of focus, loss of motivation and organizational skills, and difficulties with memorization.
A representative of the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey, Karen Mian, also spoke to Pequannock teachers. She suggested strategies for teachers to discretely and respectfully assist students recovering from brain injuries. Some of the strategies included moving students’ desks closer to the front of the room to aid in concentration, allowing students to take breaks when overwhelmed, and recognizing symptoms of brain injuries the students with the injuries may be unaware of.
Ostergaard said in the Daily Record article that many student athletes endure concussions without the injury ever being diagnosed as such. He highlighted the teachers’ unique position to observe sudden declines in students’ academic performance, changes in ability to concentrate, and the emergence of other difficulties related to head injuries.
Many of the students with head injuries were injured while playing sports, but not all of them. One student was reported to have incurred a brain injury from being hit in the head by a door. It is important for teachers to know that all studentsï‚¾not only athletesï‚¾are at risk for traumatic brain injury and should be carefully observed if symptoms are evident.
As more and more attention is drawn to the recognition of the signs of brain injuries, especially concussions, in American youth, perhaps many more schools with take inspiration from the Pequannock school district. In doing so, teachers will be able to play a major role in assisting students with brain injuries in their healing and rehabilitation processes.
Bruno, Laura. (December 14, 2009) ‘In our schools: Pequannock teachers learn to spot head injury symptoms.’ Retrieved December 18, 2009 from the Daily Record website:http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/20091214/COMMUNITIES/91210037/1005/ne…