JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Last year, more than 1,700 Jeffco Public Schools students reported concussions. So this year, the district created a brand-new position to help support all of their injured kids.
Toni Grishman is the new concussion and traumatic brain injury nurse. She has only been on the job for a few days and the cases are already coming in.
“The most common symptoms that we are hearing are the dizziness and headaches. We have blurry vision, some hard of hearing and just forgetfulness,” Grishman said.
The cases are not just sports-related. Grishman has seen concussions from car crashes as well as bike and skateboarding accidents.
Grishman was hired to monitor students who suffered concussions or traumatic brain injuries, and support them when they go back into the classroom or back on the field.
She says some students will need teacher notes, rest breaks or extra time for tests. Some students may also experience anxiety or depression, and symptoms can last for weeks.
“I had three meetings yesterday of these parents who just didn’t know what to do. Some kiddos just can’t even stay awake all day,” Grishman said. “I had a family yesterday who, the dad just cried. He is just a single dad, just trying to help his kid, and he just cried and said, ‘Thank you for supporting me, thank you for supporting us.'”
Other districts also have concussion protocols and concussion management teams in place. For example, at the Boulder Valley School District, the team includes a nurse, a counselor, a teacher and an administrator.