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Wyoming High School Activities Association Provides Concussion Insurance for Wyoming Students

Every high school and middle school student participating in a Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) sponsored activity will now be covered by concussion insurance in 2017.

Specifically, the WHSAA purchased a policy for all of its student participants, approximately 25,000 annually, providing them with “zero out-of-pocket costs should they suffer a head injury,” according to the association. Wyoming is the 5th state to provide this coverage for all student participants.

“The WHSAA is pleased to be able to offer this protection for all of our students involved in activity programs,” Commissioner Ron Laird said. “This policy coverage will assist families should their student need to visit a medical professional due to a concussion. With the money we have received through our agreement with the NFHS Network, we have been able to create a revenue stream to cover the approximately $37,000+ premium.”

This is another proactive step by the WHSAA Board of Directors that assures all WHSAA student participants, who are diagnosed with a sport or activity related concussion, will be afforded treatment with no out-of-pocket costs.

“We have been active in attempting to minimize risks for our students for many years with the assistance of our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee,” said Laird. “The WHSAA was one of the first states to establish a rule of not allowing a student to participate after being unconscious during a contest. Student safety remains our number one focus. This is just another opportunity for us to assist in taking care of our student participants.”

The insurance is the HeadStrong Concussion Insurance Program developed by Dissinger Reed Insurance. It covers every student in grades five through twelve participating in any practice or game sanctioned by the WHSAA.

“The WHSAA’s continued commitment to concussion care is exemplary and should be applauded,” said Dissinger Reed owner and CEO, Christian Reed. “Their proactive approach to protecting the young athletes in Wyoming has been fantastic and we are thrilled they are the 5th state association to adopt the HeadStrong program.”

For any claim, the participant’s insurance would first be billed and then the HeadStrong insurance would act as secondary insurance and assist with unpaid deductibles or co-pays. The maximum benefit is $25,000 per injury and there is no deductible per claim.

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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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Court Denies NFL’s Statute of Limitations Argument in Concussion Case Involving Player from the 1950s

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the March Concussion Litigation Reporter)A New York state trial court has denied the NFL’s motion to dismiss a claim in which the son of a former NFL player, who was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after his death, sued the league for fraud and negligence.

The lawsuit was filed by Arthur DeCarlo Jr. after his father, Art DeCarlo, died in 2013.  DeCarlo Jr. alleged in the complaint that the risks associated with repeated head blows have been researched and written about in medical journals for nearly a century. Yet, the NFL “ignored, minimized, disputed and suppressed” such studies linking CTE to football. The “century” reference is important because DeCarlo played football for the defendant from 1953 to 1961.

Specifically, he asserted the following causes of action: “(1) counts one and two-fraudulent concealment and fraud; (2) count three-civil conspiracy; (3) counts four and five-negligence; (4) count six-negligent misrepresentation; (5) counts seven and eight-negligent hiring and retention; and (6) count nine-wrongful death and survival.

The NFL moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the claims … (To see the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

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