06/07/12 A new Indiana law now requires schools to distribute information on and evaluate student athletes on the risk of concussions when engaged in sports. The law (IC 20-34-14-7) is entitled “Concussion and Head Injuries”. Included in the law is the requirement that before beginning practices or an interscholastic or intramural sport, both the student a parent must sign a statement saying they have been informed of risks. Any student receiving a suspected concussion during either practices or games must be removed at the time of the injury.
The state has issued information, “Heads Up-Concussion in High School Sports-A Fact Sheet for Parents.” According to information included in the Fact Sheet, a concussion is a brain injury is caused by a bump or blows to the head and can change the way the brain normally works. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, headache, nausea-vomiting, double or blurred vision, confusion and memory problems. The signs and symptoms of a concussion can be noted immediately after an injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or even weeks after an injury.
As a part of the procedure, athletes receiving suspected head injuries must be evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries. The professional must provide a written statement before an athlete can return to play.
Plymouth’s Athletic Trainer, Ryan Carroll, presented the school’s policy to the School Board on June 5. Carroll said the plan includes parent education, athlete education, and coach education. He also outlined the PHS concussion procedures. According to Carroll, the PHS sports medicine staff will reserve the right to continue to hold the athlete out if they believe the student is not ready to participate.
He said the procedure involves four-steps before a return to play. He said, “Athletes can only progress one step in a 24-hour period.
Additionally, all students as incoming freshman and junior athletes participating in either a contact or limited-contact sport are required to take a baseline neuro-cognitive exam and IMPACT test. The cost of administering the test has been covered through a grant.
Those sports include the following: Basketball, cheerleading, diving, football, gymnastics, soccer, wresting, baseball, track field events ((high jump and pole vaulting), softball, volleyball. No contact sports would include track, golf, swimming, and tennis.
The procedure was in place during the past school year. Carroll told the board that 35 athletes were retested following an injury.
Carroll said there are more than 400 athletes in the PHS athletic programs.
Carol Anders Correspondent