Penn Charter's Concussion Protocol

When your son or daughter sustains a concussion many questions will arise.

Should we take them to the ER?

Should they stay in their darkened bedroom?

Can they go to school the very next day?

At Penn Charter we pride ourselves on a comprehensive, evidence-based concussion management protocol. If your child is diagnosed with a concussion you should expect the following to occur:



If suspected of a concussion your child will be removed from play and evaluated by a certified athletic trainer. If a concussion in diagnosed the student-athlete’s parent or guardian will be notified by a member of the school healthcare team. When a student-athlete is diagnosed with a concussion the athletic trainer will notify the school nurse, division heads, athletic directors, and advisors in order to ensure each staff member involved with student’s health and well-being is aware of the current situation.



Initial treatment of concussion is rest, both physically and mentally. Physical rest is easy for most adolescents, however, mental, also known, as cognitive rest proves more difficult. Cognitive rest includes minimizing stimuli that requires brain energy to comprehend.

Examples of things to avoid during cognitive rest include:

  • Homework
  • Cell Phone Use (texting, reading, web browsing)
  • Computer Use
  • Video Games
  • Television


Return to Learn

When a student’s symptoms have subsided, or the student has remained on cognitive rest for a week, the student will begin gradually attending school as symptoms allow. The return to learn process is monitored closely by the school nurses, divisional learning specialists, and the student’s advisors. A detailed synopsis of the return to learn protocol can be found here.

Return to Play

After a student has been attending school and has a plan to make up missed academic work the return to play progression will commence. The return to play progression is a gradual increase in exercise intensity, which will assess the student’s level of healing. Exercising taxes the brain’s blood supply which causes it to work harder in order to function properly.

The progression occurs over five days and during each step the student is assessed for and lingering signs or symptoms of concussion. An example of the five-day progression is:

  • Day 1: Light aerobic activity, such as a light stationary bike ride
  • Day 2: Hard aerobic activity, such as a thirty minute interval bike workout
  • Day 3: Full body workout, weight room activities or body weight exercises
  • Day 4: Non-contact practice and conditioning exercises
  • Day 5: Full contact practice

If a student suffers concussion symptoms during any of the steps of the return to play progression that step is discontinued and tried the next day, pending resolution of symptoms.




Penn Charter was named First Team, Safe Sport School by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) in 2015, the first school in the five county Philadelphia area to make First Team. The commendation comes because PC "acted on all required and recommended elements of the Safe Sports School Checklist. First Team schools have gone above and beyond to help ensure the safety of their student athletes," says NATA.


Penn Charter

A Friends School for Girls and Boys, Pre-K to 12

3000 West School House Lane Philadelphia, PA 19144 215.844.3460
powered by finalsite