The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently passed An Act Relating to Safety Regulations for School Athletic Programs requiring that all public schools establish concussion education programs for
- Student athletes
- Other staff involved in scholastic athletic programs.
This was an initial effort to more quickly and accurately identify such injuries so that student athletes can be managed appropriately through to recovery and subsequently return to play safely. New policies adopted in Massachusetts as of July 1, 2010, include:
Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.
Each school must define the health care professional(s) and/or procedure(s) that must be satisfied before an athlete is allowed to return to participation. The individual(s) and/or procedure(s) must be in place for all student athletes, sports and levels.
In response to these changes in health care and interscholastic athletic policy, and to provide the community with more integrated, effective and rapid treatment of these student athletes following concussion, Baystate Medical Center created the Sports Concussion Clinic.
This includes opportunities for:
- Comprehensive post-concussion evaluation and management.
The staff supporting this includes clinicians with extensive experience in concussion and other sport-related injuries, such as neuropsychologists, physical medicine-rehabilitation specialists, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
- Educational workshops about concussion.
- Information and assistance in establishing and implementing baseline cognitive testing for all contact and collision sports athletes.