The Ivy League Adopts Football Experimental Rule for 2016, Impacting Kickoffs

The Ivy League will use an experimental rule for the 2016 football season to move kickoffs to the 40-yard line and touchbacks to the 20-yard line in an effort to reduce concussions and further promote the safety and welfare of its student-athletes.

“This experimental rule change is another example of The Ivy League leading the nation in concussion prevention,” said Executive Director Robin Harris. “Our data showed us that kickoffs result in a disproportionate number of concussions and this rule will allow us to assess whether limiting kickoff returns will reduce the incidence of concussions.”sports facility

The goal of the experimental rule is to limit kickoff returns, which account for 23.4 percent of concussions during games despite representing only 5.8 percent of overall plays. The League will evaluate the concussion and kickoff return data after the 2016 season. The request was made to the NCAA as a part of The Ivy League’s overall review of concussions, which began with football in 2010 and has included eight other sports to date (men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, rugby). As a result of this comprehensive review of concussions, the League began an all-sports concussion data collection and study in 2013. Data from this study prompted discussion of kickoffs, which led to The Ivy League head football coaches suggesting this experimental rule change. The NCAA granted The League’s request for conference games only.

This experimental rule is the latest in a series of Ivy policies and rules that are designed to limit the incidence of concussions. Most recently in May, The Ivy League formally adopted another policy originating with the League’s eight head football coaches to eliminate to-the-ground (“live”) tackling in practices during the regular season, which will also go into effect with the 2016 campaign. Changing practice rules does not require NCAA approval.

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British Horseracing Authority Enhances Concussion Management Protocols

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced a series of enhancements to its concussion management protocols, in order to ensure that riders are better protected and prevented from riding while under the influence of a concussive injury.

The enhancements, which come into effect from 1 August 2016, are being implemented across the full concussion management process, from baseline cognitive testing, trackside diagnosis and care through to post-injury follow-up, assessment and treatment and return-to-riding clearance. Their implementation follows a review of the existing concussion management protocols led by the BHA’s Chief Medical Adviser Dr Jerry Hill, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including most crucially the Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).

The headline elements of the enhancements include:

* Extension of trackside screening test to ensure all riders who are involved in a fall are assessed for testing with symptom scores, balance and short and long-term memory (previously only memory was tested)

* Doctors will be given authority to test riders who were involved in a heavy fall a second time, approximately 25-30mins after the initial test, even if the rider passed the initial screening test, in case of late-onset concussion

* Involvement of other members of the racecourse team in encouraging potentially concussed jockeys to attend for (re)-testing with the medical team both doctors and nurses.

* Further research and development of an active rehabilitation programme for riders who have suffered concussion, on top of the existing enforced period of rest

* Ensuring riders are asymptomatic before submitting themselves for return-to-riding tests.

* Enhancement of “Cogsport” baseline testing to ensure all baseline tests are reviewed and evaluated to ascertain any tests which may need repeating for technical or clinical reasons

* Inclusion of IJF almoners in baseline testing process in order to make testing more convenient for riders

In addition to these enhancements, further improvements to the process are planned for the near future. These include a rewrite of the “Head Injury Instructions” guidance given to jockeys who are diagnosed with concussion, enhancements to the “helmet bounty” system whereby jockeys are given a stipend in exchange for returning the helmet they wore when suffering a concussion, and an extension of the administrative support around the concussion process in order to accommodate all of these enhancements.

In the longer term the BHA is working on a program of education which will be designed to inform not only jockeys but any relevant individuals who work within the sport about how to diagnose concussion and the risks of continuing to ride when suffering from concussion.

Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Adviser for the BHA, said:

“For some time British Racing has been recognised as pioneers when it comes to concussion management, as you would expect from a sport which carries an above average risk of concussion injury.

“However, it is essential that a sport should not be complacent about the management of such a serious issue as concussion. It is my intention that in British Racing we provide our jockey athletes with the appropriate guidance, treatment and care. This is why I am personally putting a renewed focus on the support these athletes receive in injury management as well as wellbeing, nutrition and mental health.

“The enhancements to our concussion management protocols will help reduce the risk of jockeys continuing to ride while suffering from a concussion. It will also aid their safe return to riding following a concussion injury.”

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Court: Youth Football Organization’s Claim Can Continue

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from a case summary that appeared in the July issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To subscribe, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A federal judge from the Southern District of West Virginia has denied Riddell, Inc.’s motion to dismiss the second amended complaint filed by a non-profit youth football organization, which claimed that the helmet maker violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA) when it promised that its Revolution Helmets could protect football players from concussions.

In so ruling, the court found that the “operative complaint sets forth the plaintiff’s claim with the particularity required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b).”

The plaintiff in the litigation is Midwestern Midget Football Club, Inc. (Midwestern), a non-profit youth football organization operating in Kanawha County, West Virginia.

Approximately 150 youth participate in Midwestern’s program every year. It supplies the helmets for these participants. Every year Midwestern purchases between 12 and 24 new Revolution Helmets for its participants, who are aged 14 years or younger.

Midwestern initially alleged that Riddell’s marketing claims about its Revolution Helmets were knowingly false. “Among other things, Midwestern contends that …

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