Are State High School Athletic Association Policies Effective for Concussion Management?

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from the recent issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

By John Miller, Troy University, and Robin Ammon, University of South Dakota

Many interscholastic athletes, particularly high school football players, are likely to incur concussions while participating in a sport (McCrea, Hammeke, Olsen, Leo, & Guskiewicz, 2004). Copeland (2010) further indicated that 3.4 out of every 1000 athletes suffer a concussion in interscholastic contests or practices. Because of increasing documentation of sport-related concussions, public awareness has also increased. It is, therefore, essential that high school officials such as athletic directors, coaches, and athletic trainers be aware of the standard of care guidelines to manage the risk of concussion that could reduce potential litigation. A primary source of these guidelines may be found in the state athletic association policies.

Currently all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, have sport-related concussion laws in place (Weinberger & Briskin, 2013).  However, most state courts have expressed a reluctance to interfere judicially with the contractual relationship between a state high school athletic association and its member schools (Mitten, 2014). Courts have also taken the position that they are not in the best position to decide sports disputes and instead defer to sport regulators and voluntary associations to make decisions according to their own rules (Indiana High School Athletic Association v. Carlberg, 1997). Furthermore, Crane v. Indiana High School Athletic Association (1992) suggested that the state governing body’s rules, interpretations, and applications should be published to provide standard of care guideline to its member schools, students, and parents.

The results of a study on state high school athletic association policies for managing sport-related concussions revealed that concussion education policies for more than 70% of high school athletic directors did not exist (Miller & Ammon, 2017). However, nearly 75% of coaches were required to review concussion information or follow the standards set by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS). Almost 65% of the state policies required licensed medical personnel such as team doctors to make the final concussion diagnosis.  Disturbingly, more than 5% did not specify a policy as to who is responsible for a final concussion diagnosis. When describing the type of concussion protocols, 48% did not indicate any type of concussion protocols to be followed during a contest. However, 22% followed NFHS policy guidelines. While nearly 50% of the state policies did not specify …

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Concussion Speakers and Agenda Finalized for June 3 Ottawa Sport Summit

From the Ottawa Sports Council:

“We hope you will join the Ottawa Sport Council (OSC), in partnership with SIRC, Canada’s National Sport Information Resource Centre, for Let’s Talk About Concussions on Saturday, June 3rd at the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club where we will advance the dialogue around the growing prevalence of concussions in sport through presentations, and round table discussions. It will also provide participants with the opportunity to network with peers to discuss this important issue.

Summit speakers will include:

  • Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow (Pediatric Concussion), Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute
  • Ian Mendes, Host, TSN 1200
  • Gordon Stringer, Rowan’s Law and Rowan’s Legacy Project
  • Lorraine Lafreneiere, Chief Executive Officer, Coaching Association of Canada

Presentations will highlight the ongoing work and research regarding pediatric concussions and will provide a window into concussion experiences from a parent, coach and athlete perspective.

Let’s Talk About Concussions will be hosted by Julien Leblanc, President of Blueprint Management Consultants North America.

The Ottawa Sport Council thanks the Ontario Government for its generous support through the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, of this Sport Summit.”

TO REGISTER, visit sportottawa.ca

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Riddell and USA Football Extend Partnership Through 2022

Riddell and USA Football have announced their continued partnership with a new six-year agreement, promising “greater integration serving the football community.”

“As the official protective equipment partner of USA Football, Riddell will continue to assist in fulfilling the organization’s annual grant program, which will award nearly $2 million in 2017 to scholastic and youth football teams.

Chargers host their 2nd Annual USA Football Protection Tour…teaching kids and parents proper equipment fitting, concussion recognition, and tackling techniques.

“Riddell also will become a sponsor of USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, employed by high schools, middle schools and youth sports organizations nationwide to educate coaches using materials relevant for virtually every sport young athletes love to play. Riddell’s involvement will be instrumental in advancing Heads Up Football’s message of better and safer play.”

From Dan Arment, President and CEO of Riddell:

“We’re pleased to further our commitment to grow and improve the game through our expanded partnership with USA Football. Their influence in football is wide ranging as they have continued to create expanded programming designed to reach athletes, their parents and coaches in new ways. Together we can broaden awareness around innovation in protective equipment and monitoring technologies, inspire participation and understanding of the game, and enhance the overall football experience for athletes and their families.”

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