Temporary Injuries

The University of Pennsylvania is committed to supporting the academic success of all students, but recognizes that certain life events may inhibit this progress. Students who suffer a temporary injury (e.g., a broken arm or leg) and require assistance are encouraged to immediately contact the advising office of their respective school. In the event the injury occurred while the student was participating in an intercollegiate athletic event, the student should also notify the Department of Athletics.

While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not recognize temporary injuries as a disability for which accommodation is legally mandated, the advising offices, and when appropriate, the Department of Athletics, make concerted efforts to provide support. Students wishing to seek such support should inform these offices about injuries promptly so that parties can effectively collaborate and coordinate reasonable support efforts. In particular, contact should be made with the advising office about any injury that will impact a student's academic responsibilities, so that they may collaborate with the student to develop a management plan for the convalescent period.

The Office for Students with Disabilities (SDS) may be available to assist students who have a temporary injury or condition which results in a functional impairment. These may include broken bones, injuries requiring surgery and other acute illnesses. Appropriate temporary accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and may include: assistance with obtaining class notes, assistance with taking exams and/or quizzes if the student is unable to write as well as referral to use the Penn Access Transportation (PAT)  to assist with on-campus transportation.

It is required that a diagnosis be made by a licensed physician with credentials in the area of the injury in question. The following guidelines are provided to assist SDS in collaborating with each student to determine appropriate accommodations:

  • All documentation reports must be typewritten and signed on professional letterhead bearing the physician's address, phone, and clinical affiliation. The physician's license number certifying his or her status as a practicing medical doctor and any additional information about specialty credentials should be listed.
  • The report should describe the type and severity of the individual's symptoms at the time of first diagnosis, and give the approximate date of their onset and expected recovery time. Subsequent progress and treatment of the condition should also be given.
  • A description of the individual's current symptoms should be reported.
  • The report should detail any currently prescribed or recommended treatment, such as medical treatment, physical therapy, dietary requirements, assistive devices, etc.
  • Specific substantial limitations related to the injury should be listed, especially those that impact academic access , such as taking notes, copying material from a blackboard, reading standardized print, etc.
  • Additional documentation will be required if symptoms or residual side effects of the injury continue past the initial reported recovery time.