Article Assails NCAA over Concussion Policy

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Article Assails NCAA over Concussion Policy

The Internet news portal Slate has published an article that assails the NCAA over its lack of a blanket concussion policy, noting that the association leaves it up to its member institutions for legal reasons.

The lack of an “NCAA concussion protocol” is an “ambiguity (that) is by design,” according to the article. “In order to remain legally blameless, the association can’t involve itself too closely in the health of the athletes. That’s why the job of devising a response to head injuries is left to the schools themselves. As a consequence, when football programs obfuscate what exactly happened to a woozy-looking quarterback, there’s no one—not the local beat writer, and most certainly not an NCAA investigator—to hold them to account.”

The article went on to site the 2011-12 NCAA Compliance Manual, which underpins the policy:  “An active member institution shall have a concussion management plan for its student-athletes,” which must include a “process that ensures a student-athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed from athletics activities … and evaluated by a medical staff member” and must “[preclude] a student-athlete diagnosed with a concussion from returning to athletics activity (e.g., competition, practice, conditioning sessions) for at least the remainder of that calendar day.”

Paul D. Anderson, the editor of Concussion Litigation Reporter, gives credence in the article to the supposition that the NCAA’s “hands-off approach to concussion protocols is a calculated legal maneuver.” Said Anderson: “The NCAA doesn’t want to be seen as the entity responsible for taking care of the student-athletes.”

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