HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is taking steps to provide pupil transportation officials in the state with information about traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions after a student sustained a TBI while riding a school bus.
The incident was brought to the department’s attention by the mother of the student who was involved. Jan McKnight, community relations coordinator II for PennDOT, told SBF that the woman wrote to PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch about it. In the case, the school bus reportedly hit a large rock or curb and the student sustained the injury.
“The mother who wrote the secretary urged that we take steps to publicize information about traumatic brain injury to the school bus community,” McKnight explained. “We worked on wording with our Medical Advisory Board, made up of physicians from a number of specialties, and sent an educational letter to all school districts that described traumatic brain injury and some of the initial symptoms.”
A portion of the information in the letter is as follows:
“Depending on the severity of the injury, damage to the brain can be mild, moderate or severe. A key point is that a person suffering from traumatic brain injury may initially show no symptoms at all, but if symptoms are present, they can vary and may include headache, slurred speech, dilated pupils, hearing loss, seizures, paralysis, loss of consciousness, memory loss, coma, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, confusion and blurred vision.”
To read the letter in full, click here.
In addition to sending the letter to school officials in the state to share with transportation personnel, McKnight said PennDOT is in the process of adding language to its school bus driver’s manual to reflect this information.
“Information is currently being added to the manual and a new version should be available on our website in the next several weeks,” McKnight said.
The school bus driver’s manual can be downloaded here.
For more information about TBI and how to evacuate students with this condition from a school bus, click here to read an article written for SBF by Jean Zimmerman, supervisor of occupational and physical therapy for the School District of Palm Beach County (Fla.).