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Policies » Section J: Students » JLCJ: Concussions & Head Injuries

Policy Date: 01/26/2021

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The School Board 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 death is significant when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated and managed. The Board recognizes that the majority of concussions will occur in “contact” or “collisions” sports. However, in order to ensure the safety of all District student-athletes, this policy will apply to all competitive athletic activities as identified by the board and administration.

Consistent with the National Federation of High School (NFHS) and the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA), the District will utilize recommended guidelines, procedures and other pertinent information to inform and educate coaches, youth athletes, and parents/guardians of the nature and risk of concussions or head injuries, including the dangers associated with continuing to play after a concussion or head injury.

Annually, the district will distribute a head injury and concussion information sheet to all parents/guardians of student-athletes in competitive sport activities prior to the student-athlete’s initial practice or competition.

For purposes of this policy, “student-athlete” means a student involved in any intramural sports program conducted outside the regular teaching day or competitive student sports program between schools in grades 5 through 8.

For purposes of this policy, “student sports” means intramural sports programs conducted outside the regular teaching day for students in grades 5 through 8 or competitive athletic programs between schools for students in grades 5 through 8, including all NHIAA sanctioned activities, including cheer/dance squads, or any other district-sponsored sports or activities as determined by the board or administration.

For purposes of this policy, “head injury” means injuries to the scalp, skull, or brain caused by trauma, and shall include a concussion which is the most common type of sports-related brain injury.

All coaches, including volunteers, will complete training as recommended and/or provided by NHIAA, New Hampshire Department of Education and/or other pertinent organizations. Additionally, all coaches of competitive sport activities will comply with NHIAA recommended procedures for the management of head injuries and concussions.

Athletic Director or Administrator in Charge of Athletic Duties
Updating: Each spring, the athletic director or designee shall review any changes that have been made in procedures required for concussion and head injury management or other serious injury by consulting with the NHIAA or the District’s on-call physician, if applicable. If there are any updated procedures, they will be adopted and used for the upcoming school year.

Coach Training: All coaches shall undergo training in head injury and concussion management at least once every two years by one of the following means: (1) through viewing the NHIAA sport-specific rules clinic; or (2) through viewing the NHIAA concussion clinic.

Parent Information Sheet: On a yearly basis, a concussion and head injury information sheet shall be distributed to the student-athlete and the athlete’s parent/guardian prior to the student-athlete’s initial practice or competition. This information sheet may be incorporated into the parent permission sheet that allows students to participate in extracurricular athletics.

Coach’s Responsibility: A student-athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury or other serious injury in a practice or game shall be immediately removed from play.

Administrative Responsibilities: The Superintendent or his/her designee will keep abreast of changes in standards regarding concussion, explore staff professional development programs relative to concussions, and will explore other areas of education, training and programs.

Removal From Play and Protocol For Return To Play
Any coach, official, licensed athletic trainer, or health care provider who suspects that a student-athlete has sustained a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall immediately remove the student-athlete from play. A student-athlete who has been removed from play shall not return to play on the same day or until he/she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives medical clearance and written authorization from that health care provider to return to play. The student-athlete shall also present written permission from a parent/guardian to return to play.

The District may limit a student-athlete’s participation as determined by the student’s treating health care provider.

Concussion Awareness and Education
To the extent possible, the District will implement concussion awareness and education into physical education and/or health education curriculum.

Academic Issues in Concussed Students
In the event a student is concussed, regardless of whether the concussion was a result of a school-related or non-school-related activity, school district staff should be mindful that the concussion may affect the student’s ability to learn. In the event a student has a concussion, that student’s teachers will be notified.

Teachers should report to the school nurse if the student appears to have any difficulty with academic tasks that the teacher believes may be related to the concussion. The school nurse will notify the student’s parents and treating physician. Administrators and district staff will work to establish a protocol and course of action to ensure the student is able to maintain his/her academic responsibilities while recovering from the concussion.

Section 504 accommodations may be developed in accordance with applicable law and board policies.

Legal References:
RSA 200:49, RSA 200:50, RSA 205:51, RSA 200:52
Adopted: December 6, 2012
Revised: April 7, 2016
Revised: January 26, 2021