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JJIF - Athletic Concussion Policy

Policy JJIF

Adopted: April 16, 2015
Amended: N/A

The purpose of this policy is to provide information and standardized procedures for persons involved in the prevention, training management and return to activity decisions regarding students who incur head injuries while involved in extracurricular athletic activities, in order to protect their health and safety as required by Massachusetts law and regulations. An extracurricular athletic activity is defined as an organized, school sponsored athletic activity, generally occurring outside of school instructional hours, under the direction of a coach, athletic director, or marching band leader. All interscholastic athletics are deemed to be extracurricular athletic activities.

The requirements of the law apply to all public middle and high schools, however configured, serving grades six through high school graduation. The following persons shall complete one of the head injury safety training programs approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) as found on its website (Center for Disease Control and Prevention Heads Up Concussion in Youth Sports On-Line Training Program):

  • coaches (including volunteer coaches);
  • certified athletic trainers, trainers;
  • school nurses;
  • athletic directors;
  • directors responsible for a school marching band; and
  • students who participate in an extracurricular activity and their parents.

The Superintendent shall ensure that the district remains in compliance with the requirements of the Concussion Law, and shall maintain the following records for three years or, at a minimum, until the student graduates, unless state or federal law requires a longer retention period:

  • Verifications of completion of annual training and receipt of materials;
  • DPH Pre-participation forms and receipt of materials;
  • DPH Report of Head Injury Forms, or school based equivalents;
  • DPH Medical Clearance and Authorization Forms, or school based equivalents; and
  • Graduated re-entry plans for return to full academic and extracurricular athletic activities.

Most student athletes who sustain a concussion can fully recover as long as their brain has time to heal before sustaining another hit, and relying only on an athlete’s self-report of symptoms to determine injury recovery is inadequate. Massachusetts General Laws and Department of Public Health regulations make it imperative to accurately assess and treat student athletes when concussions are suspected. Research has shown that young, concussed athletes who return to play before their brain has healed are highly vulnerable to more prolonged post-concussion syndrome or, in rare cases, a catastrophic neurological injury known as Second Impact Syndrome.

The following protocol (JJIF-PRC1) will discuss and outline what a concussion is, the mechanism of injury, signs and symptoms, management and return to play requirements, as well as information on Second Impact Syndrome and past concussion syndrome. Lastly, this protocol will discuss the importance of education for our athletes, coaches, parents, and other persons as required by law.

This protocol should be reviewed every other year with all staff to discuss the procedure to be followed to manage sports-related concussions. This protocol will also be reviewed every other year by the athletic department, and the nursing staff. Any changes in this document will be approved by the School Committee.

Legal References:

MGL 111:222; 105 CMR 201.000

Adapted References:

MASC Model Policies

Cross References:

JJIF-PRC1 Athletic Concussion Regulations

JJIF-FRM1 Coaches and Volunteer Compliance Signature Form

School Committee Policies