Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/20/2021 --Intermountain Healthcare and the Alpine School District are launching an innovative concussion program this fall, called Return-to-Learn.
Schools in Utah currently follow a return-to-play model that has guidelines and a process for athletes to return to their sport following a concussion injury and period of recovery. The new Return-to-Learn program provides new guidelines for all students who suffer concussions, to help them navigate through any academic struggles as they heal.
Return-to-Learn uses a daily tracker of a student's wellbeing to determine if teachers or administrators need to make any changes to their class load for them to keep up without stressing their brain injury.
This new program was highlighted July 16, at the inaugural Intermountain Healthcare Concussion Conference at Brigham Young University's Lavell Edwards Stadium, which brought together medical professionals, coaches, and athletes, to discuss the newest research and procedures showing success in treating concussions.
"The symptoms of a concussion can be like having a short-term learning disability," said Darren Campbell, MD, sports medicine physician at Intermountain Healthcare. "Teachers and administrators help students with learning disabilities every day, and they're best equipped to help them get back to full academic capacity."
The Alpine School District is the first district in the state to adopt the Return-to-Learn model which was led by Mickelle Bos, Mountain View High School assistant principal. She says the best part about this program is that it focuses on anyone with a concussion, not just athletes.
"We've learned so much about the impacts of concussions; and this is another tool to make sure students can fully heal from their injuries and get the academic attention they need during the process," said Bos. "The Return to Learn program is about returning to life."
The program requires students with concussions to fill out a daily report rating their symptoms on a scale of one to six. Anyone with scores of four or higher may need to stop what they are doing and take a break or change up their class schedule.
The goal is to keep students engaged without straining their brain injury. Research has shown keeping concussion patients isolated in dark rooms or skipping academics all together can hinder their recovery. Bos says other concussion research shows students who stay engaged can be back to full academic capacity within three weeks.
Dr. Campbell says the overall benefit of the program is that students, teachers, and parents will have the flexibility to change the plans to fit each patient's injury.
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,600 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs.