Coaches at Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) member schools will be required to take a concussion education course offered by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) prior to the start of the Winter season. The MIAA Board of Directors voted recently to add this requirement to its existing wellness program for students, coaches and others involved in high school athletics.
â€œThis summer the state enacted a Concussion Law directed at MIAA member schools. We now are waiting for the Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop resultant regulations,â€ Barry Haley, Athletic Director of Concord Carlisle High School and MIAA President said. â€œMeanwhile, we have advised our members to follow the wellness protocols already in place for many years and any other aspects of the new law they can meet until new regulations are established by the DPH.â€
As part of the wellness program MIAA member school coaches are required to participate in an education course within one of year being hired. The course includes first aid instruction, recognizing the signs of head injuries and drug or steroid use among other wellness issues.Â In addition, member schools continue to require physical examinations for student/athletes and submission from a parent or guardian of a health history. The MIAA has long had a rule requiring a medical clearance before an athlete who has suffered a head injury can return to play.
â€œMany of our schools go beyond the Associationâ€™s requirements and programs, working with physicians, trainers, school nurses, parents and outside consultants to expand awareness of safety issues in different sports,â€ Haley said. He reported that more than 4,700 Massachusetts people have taken the NFHS on-line concussion program voluntarily this Fall. Visit the MIAA website (www.miaa.net) for a comprehensive concussion resource menu, developed by the Associationâ€™s Sports Medicine Committee.
The MIAA Wellness Program is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary of promoting the health and safety of the student-athlete. The program consists of extensive programming and policies focusing on helping students make healthy life choices. This month the MIAA held its 14th Annual Wellness Summit at which hundreds of students, coaches and administrators participated in the daylong conference.