While concussions and suspected concussions occur only occasionally in track and field, including cross country, they do happen, especially in events such as hurdling, pole vault and the jumps. Although not explicitly charged with a role when these unfortunate injuries are suffered, officials nonetheless play a part.
With student-athlete concussions increasingly being scrutinized, Massachusetts adopted a law concerning head injuries and concussions. The new concussion legislation defines the protocols for the identification of student athletes with brain injury concerns, plus the protocols for allowing the athlete to return to competition. While the legislation was targeted for Sept. 1 implementation, the state Department of Health, MIAA and other organizations are formulating detailed regulations.
MIAA rules do not specifically indicate a role for officials regarding head injury protocols. MIAA rules make school medical personnel responsible. However, officials should continue the past, best practice of ensuring that the event is stopped if an athlete is suspected of suffering a head injury. Officials should facilitate the call for and access for medical personnel.
MTFOA encourages its members to familiarize themselves with the law and rules regarding head injuries, as well as concussion resources available at MIAA, NFHS, NCAA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). USA Track & Field (USATF) is in the process of developing a policy regarding head injuries.
Some useful gateway links are: