After announcing in March that it was considering establishing a concussion policy, the NBA has enacted new protocol that determines when players can return from head injuries.
If a player is diagnosed with a concussion, he will have to complete a series of steps to confirm that he’s healthy enough for competition. Once he is symptom free, the player must make it through increasing stages of exertion- moving from a stationary bike, to jogging, to agility work, to non-contact team drills- while ensuring the symptoms don’t return after each one. Then the neurologist hired to lead the NBA’s concussion program will be consulted before the player is cleared.
Before the opening of preseason games, each player will undergo baseline testing. Players and coaches will also take part in annual training and will be required to sign acknowledgment forms that they understand the importance of reporting symptoms.
Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan, will serve as director of the NBA’s concussion program.