hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

February 22, 2012

New injury policy aims to protect students

(Continued)

In addition to ensuring that athletes are aware of the symptoms of concussions, the policy requires all players who participate in designated contact sports to undergo a baseline test called imPact testing prior to the start of each season. If a player is deemed to have suffered a concussion, they must be tested again to make sure their results match up with those taken during the baseline tests.

When a player suffers a head injury, they will be assessed by an athletic trainer who is on the sidelines at all sporting events. The trainer will assess concentration, memory, orientation and other symptoms. If the player is suspected to have a concussion, they must be removed from the practice or game. The trainer then notifies the parents and makes a referral to the student's primary care physician, as well as the school nurse.

The policy requires that before the start of each sports season, student athletes and their parents must sign a certificate that they have read materials provided to them by the school on the dangers of concussions. The materials include information about the symptoms of head injuries, the consequences of concussions and the rules the student must follow before they are allowed to return to play. Each student must also give the athletic director a physical history of any concussions or head injuries suffered in the past.

O'Brien said the School Committee will review the policy every year to make sure it remains in compliance with the requirements.

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