Tag Archives: NCAA
By Brian Hendrickson, of the NCAA.org
The NCAA’s committee responsible for student-athlete health and safety took steps at its summer meeting to better establish medical personnel as authoritative decision-makers in college sports.
During its meeting June 15-17 in Dallas, the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports approved a series of recommendations that build on legislation passed by the NCAA’s five autonomy conferences earlier this year and would establish athletic trainers and team physicians as unchallengeable decision-makers for medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes. The recommendations would also create a new designated position on campuses – an athletics healthcare administrator – which would ensure campuses are following established best practices for medical care.
“Over the last three years, the committee has consistently worked to empower primary athletics health care providers and championed organizational structures that ensure independent medical care for student-athletes,” said CSMAS chair Forrest Karr, athletics director at Northern Michigan University. “These recommendations are another step in the process. We envision a future where each member institution, in all three divisions, will designate an athletics health care administrator responsible for ensuring that their school’s policies and procedures follow inter-association consensus recommendations and comply with all NCAA health and safety legislation.”
The committee crafted its recommendations by working from legislation that was passed by the five autonomy conferences in Division I at the 2016 NCAA Convention. That legislation will take effect Aug. 1 and provides unchallengeable autonomous authority to team physicians and athletic trainers at schools in those conferences to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes. The remaining conferences in Division I currently have the option of applying that legislation.
The CSMAS recommendations aim to shape the intent of that legislation into a consistent standard across college sports. To get there, CSMAS made three recommendations:
- One recommendation encourages leagues outside the autonomy conferences in Division I to apply the autonomous legislation passed in January. The recommendation asks that those conferences opt in to the legislation by Aug. 1, 2017.
- A second legislative recommendation asks the Division I autonomous conferences to clarify the bylaw passed in January by changing the name of its oversight position – called a director of medical services in that legislation – to athletics healthcare administrator. The name change was requested out of concern that the position could be confused with the title of “medical director,” which is established elsewhere in NCAA bylaws.
- A third recommendation asks Divisions II and III to sponsor legislation similar to that passed by the Division I autonomous conferences to establish the athletics health care administrator position and provide team physicians and athletic trainers with unchallengeable autonomous authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes. The committee stressed that the health care administrator role may be given to an existing staff member rather than create an additional administrative position.
CSMAS recommendations follow those from other organizations in recent years which called for physicians and athletic trainers to have the ability to make medical decisions without fear of interference from coaches or other athletics personnel.
In 2014, the Journal of Athletic Training published interassociation best practices – of which the NCAA’s Sport Science Institute was included as an endorsing organization – which included giving physicians and athletic trainers authority to make medical decisions for student-athletes. That document was published at a time when a national survey conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education documented that athletic trainers, in particular, function under the heavy influence of the coaching staffs: Thirty-two percent of respondents indicated the head coach influences their hiring; 42 percent reported feeling pressured to return a concussed athlete to play early; and 52 percent reported feeling pressured to return injured athletes early.
New precautions for concussions may soon be coming to college wrestling.
The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee this week recommended a rules change that would allow medical personnel an unlimited and unimpeded amount of time for concussion evaluation of wrestlers, beginning in the 2016-17 season.
All rules recommendations must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss wrestling rules proposals via teleconference June 15.
The committee, which met April 11-13 in Indianapolis, also recommended, in cases of uncertainty, that medical staff be given the ability to remove participants from the wrestling area to perform a concussion evaluation.
During the evaluation, the match will be suspended until a decision is rendered by the medical professional. The referee, the coaches of both participants and the non-injured wrestler would be required to remain on the mat during the evaluation.
A concussion evaluation timeout will not count as an injury timeout or recovery timeout. Coaching of the wrestler being evaluated would not be permitted.
In a separate recommendation from the rules committee, the injured wrestler would not be permitted to be coached during all other non-bleeding injury timeouts.
“Both of these new rules proposals are about providing medical personnel dedicated and uninterrupted time with the injured athlete so they can make a more accurate health and safety decision in an already limited timeframe,” said NCAA Wrestling Secretary-Rules Editor Chuck Barbee.
In the case of a severe or traumatic situation, medical personnel may request the wrestler’s coach to assist in calming the injured wrestler. However, coaches would be required to remove themselves from the situation during any assessment period related to the injury or concussion evaluation.
Both proposals were issued as interpretations during the 2015-16 wrestling season based on recommendations made at the NCAA Sports Science Institute Wrestling Summit in July 2015.
“These rules recommendations are a good indicator of the committee’s commitment to continuing to explore and advance new rules that positively impact the student-athlete’s health and safety, Barbee said.
During the meeting, the committee also reviewed rules that went into effect in the 2015-16 season and had extensive discussions about possible new rules that could be considered for the 2017-2018 season.
“Overall, the committee is pleased that for the 2016-17 season, other than our health and safety rules, we have no additional new or experimental rules that will be recommended for implementation,” Barbee said. “This rule change respite should allow for everyone to continue to improve and perfect the application of our existing rules.”
By Brian Burnsed, of the NCAA
Nine schools have been added to the largest-ever study of concussion in sport.
The NCAA-Department of Defense Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium study enters its third year this summer and now includes 30 institutions across the country. The nine new schools will begin baseline screening for all their student-athletes this summer.
More than 170 schools have inquired about taking part in the study.
All student-athletes at each of the participating institutions receive a comprehensive preseason evaluation for concussion and will be monitored in the event of an injury. Data collected at each school are evaluated by a team of researchers led by Steven Broglio, director of the University of Michigan’s NeuroTrauma Research Laboratory; Michael McCrea, director of brain injury research at the Medical College of Wisconsin; and Tom McAllister, chair of the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.
The researchers have collected more than 25 million data points from 16,000 student-athletes at the 21 institutions already participating. After adding nine new testing sites, researchers estimate that more than 25,000 student-athletes will take part over the course of the three-year study.
“The important expansion of the CARE Consortium to include a diversity of Division I, Division II, Division III and historically black college and university participants further solidifies this study as a groundbreaking initiative,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer. “It is a remarkable collaborative and inclusive effort.”
The NCAA and DOD have dedicated $30 million to the concussion study and an initiative to spur culture change regarding concussion. Participating schools receive a portion of that funding to cover the cost of carrying out the research.
New participants in the CARE Consortium study
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania – Division II
University of Chicago – Division III
University of Miami (Florida) – Division I
University of North Georgia – Division II
University of Pennsylvania – Division I
Temple University – Division I
Wake Forest University – Division I
Wilmington College (Ohio) – Division III
Winston-Salem State University – Division II