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Area athletic directors meet, focus on concussions
Friday, October 18th, 2013
Issue 42, Volume 17.
The agenda featured four speakers: Wes Carty, the CIF Southern Section website founder; Mike Lightner, O-Line Sports representative; Lloyd Nixon, Southern Section Officials Liaison; and keynote speakers Jim Wynn ATC and Jim Clover ATC, founders and owners of the Sports Foundation and Sports Clinic of Riverside.
Carty spoke on the integration of CIF Home with new partner Maxpreps. The two systems are working on cross-platform issues that will simplify scheduling, score reporting, data-sharing (synchronization) and reporting.
Lightner offered free websites for sports teams customized with links, discounts from national advertisers, as well as fund-raising opportunities through a merchandising link.
Nixon spoke of administrative and operational issues from the official’s perspective as well as elucidating the arbiter process.
Keynote speakers Clover and Wynn tackled the subject of concussions: program administration and paperwork to minimize school liability, examination protocols, and return-to-play procedures.
Clover emphasized education and written documentation of those education plans (how to hit, how to train coaching staff, etc.) as well as the importance of an Emergency Action Plan.
"Ignorance will not prevent negligence," said Clover.
CIF By-law 313 states, "A student-athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time for the remainder of the day. A student-athlete who has been removed from play may not return to play until the athlete is evaluated by a health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and receives written notice to return to play from that health care provider."
Clover stated that this is backed up by AB 588 and schools have legal ground to stand on when holding out an athlete for safety reasons. A coach, athletic director, trainer or referee can pull a player out from play; he makes a distinction that "it is the injury that pulls them out and it is the law that requires them to do so."
An athlete may be put back in play by an MD or DO, a licensed "health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions."Clover stated that there are currently only six that are certified at the highest levels. By contrast, there are seven concussion attorneys listed in Riverside County alone.
Wynn spoke on baseline testing options, multiple decision points (to keep player or to call 911) and testing protocols, standards of care, and Return-to-Play Progression.
Wynn outlined his 5-step "Return to Play Procedures After Concussion." Each step (1-2 days) is a progression that must be signed off to move to the next level.
1. No activity: complete physical and cognitive rest. Objective is recovery.
2. Light aerobic activity: "no brain bounce activities" at maximum 70% intensity; no resistance training. Objective is to increase heart rate.
3. Sport-specific exercise: "add some brain bounce" through running drills. Objective is to add movement.
4. Non-contact training drills: more complex training drills; progressive resistance training. Objective is exercise, coordination and cognitive load.
5. Full contact practice: following medical clearance, participate in normal training activities. Objective is to restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff.
If post-concussion symptoms occur at any step, the athlete must stop the activity and the treating physician must be contacted. Following the appropriate rest period, the athlete resumes the progression at a step before the one he/she was stopped on.
Wynn further elaborated on the potential dangers (including death) of Second Impact Syndrome (when an athlete sustains a second concussion before the previous one is healed).
"The challenges facing secondary schools are many," says Wynn. "Sixty-eight percent of the schools are without athletic trainers, the time and money cost of training and qualifications, and the Jan. 1 law (AB 1451) requiring coaches to
be trained in recognizing and
responding to signs of concussions."
"That is the great thing about these conferences," says Vista Murrieta Athletic Director Ray Moore, "you always learn something, and networking is key." Another athletic director chimed in, "The best thing about these meetings is you can fill your schedule out." He had just made a handshake agreement on six games with another athletic director.
CBAADA is open to all athletic directors – public and private schools – in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. Upcoming events include Women in Sport Conference, Hall of Fame Luncheon, Outstanding Athlete Awards Breakfast, and Outstanding Coach Awards Breakfast.
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