As directed by L.D. 104, An Act to Protect the Health of Student Athletes by Requiring the Department of Education to Report on the Incidence of Concussions which was signed into law by Governor Mills on March 17, 2021, the Department of Education’s Concussion Workgroup is expanding its work. The law requires that the Department work with the Maine Principals’ Association to use existing or new collection methods in order to report on the incidence of concussion in Maine schools. The Department, together with the Maine Principals’ Association is pleased to continue working with the Maine Association of School Nurses and Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI) as the Concussion Workgroup. The recent directive from the Maine Legislature instructs the Department to report to the Education and Cultural Affairs Legislative Committee annually, beginning in January 2022, on any available data on the incidence of concussions sustained by student athletes in the state using existing or new data collection systems. The report must include recommendations on best practices for the collection of such data.
The Head Injury Tracker (HIT) was developed by MCMI 2013 with the goal of providing schools with an ability to identify high-risk activities for brain injuries by tracking patterns of concussions within their school systems. The HIT platform, available at no cost, provides schools with an easy, confidential, and secure method of collecting concussion data for their students. The HIT website serves many purposes including protecting the propriety and confidentiality of the data collected, providing a platform for reporting concussion data to the State, and potentially a tool for schools to compare their risk analysis with other schools throughout the state.
The HIT website was developed with the importance of concussion reporting in mind and can be easily implemented and utilized at all institutions throughout the state. The website allows for multiple individuals, not just the athletic trainer or school nurse, at a school to enter the data allowing for easy tracking and communication surrounding a student’s recovery. Additionally, the data collected from the HIT website can be used to detail the impact a head injury has on a student’s academic, athletic, and personal experiences. In order for us to identify the impact of concussion on students, we must collect data. As we learn more, we will work together in this ongoing effort to improve academic and social emotional outcomes for all students with head injuries.
The Concussion Workgroup looks forward to working together on this initiative with the understanding that this is a long-term effort to improve outcomes for students who experience head injury. Over the next several months you can expect to see more educational opportunities for school personnel on recognizing a head injury, documentation, and tracking with the Head Injury Tracker (HIT). We are working to develop a cadre of 25 schools that will work toward implementation in the fall of 2021, knowing that the larger goal is for all schools to participate.
For more information on concussion management in Maine schools please visit: https://www.maine.gov/doe/schools/safeschools/healthed/concussion
If you have questions about these efforts, please contact Emily.Poland@maine.gov .