Woman Questions School District’s Protocol after Daughter’s Concussion Goes Unchecked

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RIO LINDA -- During a Rio Linda girls basketball game last month number 20 drove up to the hoop, ended up on the hardwood and was inadvertently kicked in the back of the head.

The girl lay motionless for a period of time and eventually made it to the bench.

"She said, 'Mom, I'm dizzy, my head hurts,'" said Alicia Orcutt, the girl's mother. "And I said, 'You're not playing.'"

Orcutt thought that was the end of it as her daughter's team went into the locker room for halftime. She figured she would be given a test to see if she might have a concussion.

"My assumption was that concussion protocol was followed and she had the test that were done in order for her to be allowed to go back into the game," she said.

Her daughter did play in the second half. Orcutt didn't learn until the next day that a concussion test was not performed when she contacted her daughter's coach.

"She was forgetting things and I wanted to know did he do a concussion test?" Orcutt said. "And he responded and said, 'No... she she said she was OK.'"

But Orcutt's daughter was not OK. The next day she was diagnosed with a concussion by a independent medical professional. Her daughter spent three weeks on the sideline recovering.

"They don't want to be taken out of the game," Orcutt said. "They want to stay in the game, they want to play. So, for her to say, 'I'm OK,' I don't think that was her decision."

"We have our coaches go through a wide variety of trainings. CPR, first aid, concussion protocol," said Craig Murray with the Twin Rivers School District.

Rio Linda High School is within the Twin Rivers School District and as the executive director of student engagement part of Murray's job was to look at the videotape of the incident and determine if there were steps that were missed in the process.

"No, we're confident that was he did was done correctly at the time, given his training," Murray said. "We're going to keep moving forward and work with the family and try to provide that safe experience for our students."

"The video is clear that she hit her head. Ice was put on her head, she was put back into the game and a concussion test was not performed," Orcutt said.

Twin Rivers, like many school districts throughout the state, does not provide the funding for a certified athletic trainer at games and practices, which puts coaches in the duel role of both coach and trainer. Some say that puts student athletes continually at risk.

"If they have certified trainers there I would know that someone is monitoring," Orcutt said. "That is what they are there for. To ask the questions, 'Are you OK? Where does this hurt? Does your knee hurt? Let's show you proper ways to avoid injuries.' Other than, 'Oh, you're hurt? Get back in there.'"

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