American Athletic Conference Announces New Concussion Policy

The athletic directors of the American Athletic Conference unanimously approved adoption of a new Concussion Management Policy this week at their annual meeting in Key Biscayne, Florida. The policy will take effect at the beginning of the 2015-16 academic year, and will be applied to student-athletes competing in all 21 sports sponsored by the Conference.

The current policy was crafted by a panel of experts in their fields from across The American, including sports medicine physicians, certified athletic trainers, head coaches in football, men’s and women’s soccer, and athletic administrators.

“This policy was developed to serve the best interests of student-athlete welfare,” said Commissioner Mike Aresco.  “We asked a group of extremely knowledgeable, well-respected and capable experts to study this issue and draft a policy that creates the best health and safety protocol.  An important objective of the policy is providing for the education of all those who work with our student-athletes in any capacity on the issues surrounding concussions.”

The new American Athletic Conference policy encompasses the protocol in the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook and includes additional provisions to ensure the student-athlete’s safe and successful return to activity and return to learn.  The additional measures are designed to enlist comprehensive institutional and Conference support. In addition to the staff education requirements, each member institution is required to annually submit to the Conference office an Emergency Action Plan for each campus competition facility. These plans will be in effect for all activities in those facilities, and will apply to home and visiting student-athletes at all times.

Although applicable to all sports, the Concussion Management Policy includes additional football-specific requirements, including annual concussion education for all on-field league officials, a written sideline communication plan for the game day medical staff, and a day-of-game in-person meeting between the on-duty EMTs and team medical staff.

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