The USC concussion protocol was put in place as a result of “discussion of concussions, areas of prevention, selecting appropriate testing methods”, rehab, and how to get the student-athlete back on the playing ground. The protocol is reevaluated annually at a meeting held for all USC medical staff. This plan is overseen by the lead athletic department neurosurgeon who is very well known around the school and in the community. He specializes in brain and spinal injuries and other neurological deficits, and has good knowledge on the school’s teams, sports, and student-athletes.
Annually, the student-athletes receive papers regarding the signs and symptoms of concussions. After they read over all the papers, they have to report back that they know the signs and symptoms of concussions. After they report back to the school, the responsibility is on them to tell someone on the medical staff or the coach if they are experiencing those signs and symptoms. Also, the parents of the student-athletes can receive the same educating papers the players received if they want to. They also tell the student-athletes that the contact sports have an increased probability for head injuries.
Every single student-athlete at USC has to go through baseline data collections, injury evaluations, and return-to-play guidelines. They medical staff and coaches have to watch a video presented by the NCAA about the signs and symptoms of concussions and given forms on concussions. After they get them and go over them, they have to report back to the NCAA that they have gotten it, and know it. Then the NCAA documents the report they got back from USC.
Before the first practice of the sport the student-athlete plays, they have to get PPE(pre-participation physical examination) conducted by the team physician. The physician asks for the history on if the student-athlete has had a concussion(mild or major) and searched for any signs and symptoms. The physician determines if the player is eligible to play this season.
Then the student-athletes have to go through the baseline data collection. The baseline data collection consists of SAC, PCSS, BESS, and ImPACT. The SAC, PCSS, and BESS are paper documented and the ImPACT is taken on a computer and is stored in a downloaded PDF file. The chosen staff Athletic Trainer is the one accountable for coordinating baseline data collection for their sport.
If a student-athlete gets a concussion, USC’s number one rule is not to get the player back on the playing ground, but is the health and welfare of the student-athlete. The return-to-play decision is based on the body of the student-athlete. If their body isn’t ready, USC won’t rush them to get back on the playing ground. An example of saying someone’s body isn’t ready, is if they are experiencing signs and symptoms after they got cleared for a concussion, they will go back in rehab to get those signs and symptoms to diminish, so they can get back to the playing ground.