The Concussion Management and Awareness Act will go into effect on July 1, 2012 for all public schools and charter schools. The items listed below are required for school districts to be in compliance with the law. Some of the items are specifically spelled out in the law and others have been recommended by the State Education Department and the Department of Health and approved by the State Board of Regents.

Requirements of School Districts

Education:

  • Each school coach, physical education teacher, nurse, and athletic trainer will have to complete an approved course on concussion management on a biennial basis, starting with the 2012-2013 school year.

Information:

  • Provide concussion management information and sign off with any parental permission form. The NYSPHSAA will provide a pamphlet to member schools on the concussion management information for parents.
  • The concussion management and awareness information or the State Education Department’s website must be made available on the school website, if one exists.

Removal from athletics:

  • Require the immediate removal from athletic activities of any pupil that has or is believed to have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury.
  • No pupils will be allowed to resume athletic activity until they have been symptom free for 24 hours and have been evaluated by and received written and signed authorization from a licensed physician. For interscholastic athletics, clearance must come from the school medical director.
    • Such authorization must be kept in the pupil’s permanent heath record.
    • Schools shall follow directives issued by the pupil’s treating physician.

State Education Department’s Guidance for Concussion Management

Schools are advised to develop a written concussion management policy. A sample policy is available on the NYSPHSAA website at www.nysphsaa.org. The policy should include:

  • A commitment to reduce the risk of head injuries.
  • A procedure and treatment plan developed by the district medical director.
  • A procedure to ensure proper education for school nurses, certified athletic trainers, physical education teachers, and coaches.
  • A procedure for a coordinated communication plan among appropriate staff.
  • A procedure for periodic review of the concussion management program.

Post Concussion Management

  • Cognitive rest requires the student avoid participation in, or exposure to, activities that require concentration or mental stimulation.
  • Physical rest includes getting adequate sleep, taking frequent rest periods, and avoiding physical activity that requires exertion.
  • Return to school activities may begin once a medical provider clears the student and may recommend a graduated return to activities, after the student has been symptom free for 24 hours. For physical activities, please refer to Zurich Guidelines which can be found at www.nysphsaa.org.

Schools may develop a Concussion Management Team to help guide and implement the program.

  • The team may include, but is not limited to, students, parents/guardians, school administrators, medical director, private medical provider, school nurse, director of PE, certified athletic trainer, physical education teachers, coaches, and regular education teachers.