Concussion Awareness and Management

Concussion Awareness Month 

On July 15, 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds proclaimed August 2020 as Concussion Awareness Month in Iowa.  Concussions are a type of brain injury, sometimes referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries, that disrupt the way the brain normally works.  Concussion can occur in sports, during falls or as a result of a motor vehicle crash.  To learn more about concussions and concussion management, please visit http://idph.iowa.gov/brain-injuries/concussion.  If you or somebody you know have had a concussion or other type of brain injury and are in need of support, please contact the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa to speak with a resource facilitator at 855-444-6443 or email info@biaia.org.

2020 concussion month proclamation  PDF

Let's Get Social!


The Iowa Department of Public Health will post concussion information on social media throughout August.  Follow us on Facebook (@IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth)  or Twitter (‎@IAPublicHealth) and help promote the messages by sharing with your followers. 

Help connect our social media messages by using the hashtags #PutBrainsBeforeGames and #ConcussionAwarenessMonth.


Show your support of Concussion Awareness Month with a Facebook "Put Brains Before Games #ConcussionAwareness" profile frame! Click on your Facebook profile and search "BrainsBeforeGames" to add the frame to your profile picture (see image below) .

orange circle with words  

Concussion Management Resources

In April 2018, Iowa's concussion law was updated.  While the REAP Concussion Manual and the Concussion Guidelines for Iowa Schools need to be updated to reflect the new requirements of the law, the guidance provided in these resources is evidence based and continue to be relevant.  Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education are continuing to partner to bring information and tools to schools to support them as they implement concussion management protocols for return-to-learn and return-to-play.

Additional content is available and organized on this site by the audience, or "team", that is most likely to use that information. Regardless of your role, you may be interested in content found on one of the "team" pages.  To access that information, select the topic area below or by clicking the tab on the left side of this page:

  • Academic Team (individuals at the school who will watch, monitor, and track the academic and emotional effects of concussion)
  • Physical Team (individuals at the school, or other settings, who will watch, monitor, and track the physical symptoms of the concussion)
  • Student/Family Team (individuals who support the student at home or may support the student as a primary advocate)
  • Medical Team (healthcare providers who will diagnose concussion, assess for complications, and consult with the school and home teams througout the return-to-learn and return-to-play process)

Teacher's Acute Concussion Tool (TACT)

The Iowa Departments of Public Health and Education have partnered together, in collaboration with Get Schools on Concussions, the Iowa Concussion Coalition and the Advisory Council on Brain Injuries, to make a statewide subscription to the Teacher's Acute Concussion Tool (TACT) available to all Iowa schools.  TACT is a "just in time" concussion management resource for educators at all levels.  Included in the 2020-2021 subscription is, access to tip sheets, informational videos, and sample concussion return-to-learn plans.  Learn more about TACT at https://www.getschooledonconcussions.com/.

Interested in bringing TACT to your school?  Contact brain.injury@idph.iowa.gov to learn how to get started.

Learn more about TACT

TACT promotional postcard PDF

Why get schooled on concussions? PDF  Explaination of concussion management using Multi-Teir System of Support (MTSS) 

Iowa Concussion Speakers' Bureau

In 2018,  a Concussion Speakers' Bureau was formed to provide information and training about mild brain injuries and concussion management across Iowa.  Their presentations are based on the REAP Concussion Management program and align with Iowa's current concussion law.  If you are interested in requesting a presentation for your organizaiton, school or community, please email the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa at icc@biaia.org.  

Are you a professional who has expertise in evaluation and management of concussion and other brain injuries and is willing to share their time and talents?  Please consider joining the Speakers' Bureau by emailing the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa at icc@biaia.org.

image of available speakers bureau training

References for implementing school-based concussion management, including return-to-learn and return-to-play

Iowa Concussion Law (Code of Iowa 280.13cPDF

Iowa's Return to Play Protocol (Administrative Rules, Chapter 54)

Newly added  Brain Injury Association of America's Return to Learn Protocol 

CDC's Concussion at Play: Opportunities to Reshape the Culture Around Concussion 

CDC's Report to Congress: The management of TBI in Children (executive summary)

Concussion Management Guidelines for Iowa Schools  PDF

REAP Concussion Management manual  PDF  

Other Informational Websites

Iowa Association of School Boards Releases Concussion Protocol and Adoption Clarification

The following was received in an email from the Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB) on May 1, 2019.

Recently, we have heard from a number of school districts looking for a sample board policy related to concussion treatment, and return-to-play/return-to-learn. Many districts are worried that this is required to be adopted prior to July 1. No board policy is required to be adopted prior to July 1, 2019.

The concussion bill passed last year (HF2442), does not require any type of concussion policy for boards. It does require boards to adopt return-to-play protocol issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and a return-to-learn plan based on the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).Boards must adopt the protocol by July 1, 2019. Boards may choose to adopt the protocol either through motion, second and vote or through a formal resolution. Keep in mind that a record of the motion and vote or the resolution should be in writing in order to have adequate record of its adoption. Download sample resolution language here.

Below is a more complete recap of HF2442’s requirements:

  1. The IDPH, Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) worked together to develop training materials and courses on concussions and brain injuries.
  2. All coaches and contest officials must complete training every two years.
  3. As of July 1, 2018, districts must provide parents of students in grades 7-12 an information sheet on brain injury. The student and their parent must sign and return a copy of this form back to the district before they can participate in sport.
  4. IDPH, IHSAA, IGHSAU will develop return-to-play protocol.
  5. School districts shall adopt this return-to-play protocol by July 1, 2019. You can find protocol information here.
  6. School district personnel with students who participate in sports in grades 7-12 shall develop a return-to-learn plan based on guidance from the Brain Injury Association of America. You can find information here.
  7. School districts are now required to provide protective gear to students as of July 1, 2018.
  8. The IDPH has also issued a guide to concussion management, and IHSAA sample protocol here. 

Please contact me at sschneider@ia-sb.org or (515) 247-7028 if you have additional questions.

Need information and support following a concussion?  The Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa is the Department of Public Health's contract partner for NeuroResource Facilitation.  You can talk to one of their staff by calling 855-444-6443 or by emailing info@biaia.org.