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Updated: MIAA requires concussion training for tournament officials

posted Oct 5, 2011, 7:45 AM by Mass TFOA   [ updated Oct 1, 2012, 12:16 PM by Paul Williams ]
In support of Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations cited below, and in the best interests of student athletes, all MIAA Tournament Directors and Tournament Assignors will require successful completion of a DPH-approved concussion training program as a condition for an official accepting an MIAA tournament assignment.

Your acceptance of an MIAA Tournament contest assignment will be considered as implicit confirmation that you are a member in good standing with your local board, that you are enrolled with the MIAA, and that you have successfully completed a concussion training program as required by the DPH.   

This policy will be in effect beginning with the 2011 Fall tournament season.

105 CMR: Department of Public Health – 201.007 (E) Training Program states, “Game officials shall complete one of the training programs approved by the Department as specified on the Department’s website annually and shall provide independent verification of completion of the training program to schools or school districts upon request.”

To assist in concussion management education, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) at no cost offers a course titled “Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know.” Successful completion of this course has been approved by the DPH as satisfying the training component of the regulations.

The only requirement is registering on http://www.nfhslearn.com/electiveDetail.aspx?courseID=38000, which is quick and easy. This 20-minute course is designed for coaches, officials, parents, administrators and students to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussions and a stepwise process to return to the sport. Approximately 200,000 courses have already been delivered.

MIAA Handbook Concussion Rules state:

56.2 Each school’s medical person/staff is responsible for the members of that team. These individuals annually must have taken, and been certified in, the NFHS online Concussion Course or other recognized education program. In the event of injury, that medical person/staff will make the final judgment as to whether a student athlete may return to play (please see Rule 56.4 below regarding concussions). Whenever a medical person is on duty at an athletic event, he/she shall be responsible for both teams (unless the other team has its own medical person present). His/her judgment will be final. Physical disqualification by the medical person renders the student ineligible. The Penalty for playing an ineligible student is forfeiture.

56.4 Any student athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the practice or competition and must not return to practice or competition that day, and further shall not return to play until cleared (in writing to the Athletic Director) by an appropriate health care professional (as determined by the Department of Public Health). Whenever it is decided to disqualify a studentathlete from further participation for a suspected concussion or other injury, the person making that decision must communicate about this matter with the injured athlete’s coach and athletic director in a timely fashion.

The following represents a menu of free and credible materials/resources for administrators, coaches, parents and student athletes:

NATIONAL FEDERATION www.nfhslearn.com

-- Free online concussion course (What you need to know)

-- Concussions – NFHS Sports Medicine Handbook

CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL www.cdc.gov/concussion

-- Facts about Concussion and Brain Injury: Where to Get Help

-- Heads Up: Brain Injury in Your Practice initiative

-- Heads Up: Concussion in High School Sports initiative

-- Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports initiative

-- Help Seniors Live Better, Longer: Prevent Brain Injury initiative

BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF MASSACHUSETTS (BIAMA) www.biama.org

-- Prevention Programs include:

            - Brains at Risk

            - Gateway

            - Think A Head

            - Keys

            - Falls

            - Jose and Maria

-- Sport Concussion Cards

-- DVD’s for athletes, parents & coaches–excellent resource for preseason meetings

MASSACHUSETTS INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION www.miaa.net

-- Concussion Information Resource Page

MASSACHUSETTS MEDICAL SOCIETY (MMS) www.massmed.org

-- Concussion / A Coach’s Guide for Sideline Evaluations (Concussion Education Brochure)