Student Sports - Concussions
The Board of Education recognizes that concussions and head injuries are commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and other recreational activities. The Board acknowledges the risk of catastrophic injuries or deaths are significant when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated and managed.
Commencing July 1, 2010, and each school year thereafter, any coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics employed by the District shall complete an initial training course, approved by the State Board of Education, regarding concussions which are a type of brain injury prior to commencing the coaching assignment for the season. Such training course shall include, but not be limited to (1) the recognition of the signs and symptoms of a concussion; (2) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of having a concussion; (3) the nature and risk of concussions, including the danger of continuing to engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion; and (4) the proper method of allowing a student athlete who has sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity.
Each school year any coach who has completed the initial training course regarding concussions shall annually review current and relevant information, developed or approved by the State Board of Education, regarding concussions prior to the start of the coaching assignment. This annual review is not required in any year the coach is required to complete a refresher course. Beginning July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, a coach must complete an approved refresher course not later than five years after the initial training course in order to maintain his/her coaching permit and to coach in the District.
Only coaches holding a permit issued by the State Board of Education who have completed an approved initial training course regarding concussions and subsequent review of current and relevant information on this topic and required refresher courses shall be permitted to coach intramural and/or interscholastic athletics for the District.
The District will also utilize protocols developed by the State Board of Education in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association (CIAC), and appropriate organizations representing licensed athletic trainers and county medical associations to inform and educate coaches, youth athletes and their parents and/or guardians of the nature and risk of concussions or head injuries, including the dangers associated with continuing to engage in athletic activity after a concussion, of the proper method of allowing a student athlete who has sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity.
Annually the District will distribute a head injury and concussion information sheet to all parents/guardians of student participants in competitive sport activities. The parent/guardian and student must return a signed acknowledgement indicating that they have reviewed and understand the information provided before the student participates in any covered activity. This acknowledgement form must be returned and be on file with the District in order for the student to be allowed to practice or compete in the sports activity.
All coaches will complete training pertaining to the District's procedures.
The required refresher course regarding concussions shall include, but not be limited to, an overview of key recognition and safety practices, an update of medical developments, current best practices in the field of concussion research, and prevention and treatment. Said refresher course shall also contain an update on new relevant federal, state and local laws and regulations, and for football coaches, current best practices regarding coaching the sport of football, including, but not limited to, frequency of games and full contact practices and scrimmages as identified by the governing authority for intramural and interscholastic athletics (CIAC).
The District, after January 1, 2015, shall implement the "Concussion Education Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut Schools," developed by the State Board of Education per the stipulations of P.A. 14-66. Written materials, online training or videos, or in person training shall address, at a minimum, the recognition of signs or symptoms of concussion, means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of sustaining a concussion, the nature and risks of concussions, including the danger of continuing to engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion, proper procedures for return to athletic activity and current best practices in the prevention and treatment of a concussion.
The Board recognizes that commencing July 1, 2015, the CIAC prohibits student athletes from participation in any intramural or interscholastic activity unless the student athlete and his/her parent/guardian completes the concussion education plan of the State Board of Education and its contributing organizations to such plan. Prior to participating in any intramural or interscholastic athletic activity students must (1) read written materials, (2) view online training videos, or (3) attend in-person training regarding the District's concussion education plan provided by the Board of Education.
Prior to participating in any intramural or interscholastic athletic activity for the school year beginning July 1, 2015 and thereafter, a parent/guardian of each student athlete must (1) read written materials, (2) view online training videos, or (3) attend in-person training regarding the District's concussion education plan.
Note: CIAC recommends that, whenever possible, in-person training is utilized at the required pre-season meeting for parents/guardians and athletes. Schools may use any or all of the delivery methods mentioned above to develop a plan that best fits the district's demographics.
The District, commencing July 1, 2015, will utilize the consent form developed or approved by the State Board of Education with parent/guardians of student athletes in intramural or interscholastic activities regarding concussions. This form shall provide a summary of the concussion education plan developed or approved by the State Board of Education and a summary of the Board's policy regarding concussions. The consent form shall be returned to the appropriate school authorities, signed by the parent/guardian, attesting to the receipt of such form and authorizing the student athlete to participate in the athletic activity.
Further, in compliance with applicable state statutes, the coach of any intramural or interscholastic athletics shall immediately remove any student athlete participating in intramural or interscholastic athletics who (1) is observed to exhibit signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body during a practice, game or competition, (2) is diagnosed with a concussion, or (3) is otherwise suspected of having sustained a concussion because such student athlete is observed to exhibit signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion regardless of when such concussion or head injury may have occurred. Upon such removal, the coach or other qualified school employee defined in Connecticut General Statutes 10-212a, shall notify the student athlete's parent/guardian that the student athlete has exhibited such signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion or has been diagnosed with a concussion. Such notification shall be provided not later than twenty-four hours after such removal. However, a reasonable effort shall be made to provide such notification immediately after such removal.
The coach shall not permit such student athlete to participate in any supervised athletic activities involving physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions, until such student athlete receives written clearance to participate in such supervised athletic activities involving physical exertion from a licensed health care professional* trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.
Following medical clearance, the coach shall not permit such student athlete to participate in any full, unrestricted supervised athletic activities without limitations on contact or physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions and such student athlete (1) no longer exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion at rest or with exertion, and (2) receives written clearance to participate in such full, unrestricted supervised athletic activities from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.
*"licensed health care professional" means a physician licensed pursuant to Chapter 370 of the General Statutes, a physician assistant licensed pursuant to Chapter 370 of the General Statutes, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to Chapter 378 of the General Statutes or an athletic trainer licensed pursuant to Chapter 375a of the General Statutes.
The Board, as required, for the school year beginning July 1, 2014 and annually thereafter, will collect and report to the State Board of Education all occurrences of concussion. The report shall contain, if known, the nature and extent of the concussion and the circumstances in which it was sustained.
The Board believes that at the forefront of concussion management is the implementation of baseline testing, through the implementation of the ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) Program.* Subject to the availability of financial resources, District athletes will receive "baseline" testing prior to the start of the sports season and should be done for individual athletes at least every other year.
*ImPACT is a 20 minute computerized concussion evaluation system that has been scientifically validated and has become a standard tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes of all ages. Information is available at http://www.impacttest.com/. This computerized neurocognitive testing program is available online.
Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes
PA 10-62 An Act Concerning Student Athletes and Concussions
P.A. 14-66 An Act Concerning Youth Athletics and Concussions
"Concussion Education Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut Schools" adopted by the State Board of Education, January 7, 2015.