The nation’s high schools are finally officially tightening rules regarding concussions and student athletes. Starting with this year’s football season, “any player who shows signs, symptoms or behaviors associated with a concussion must be removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional,” says a press release issued Tuesday by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Under the old rules, officials were only directed to remove an athlete from play if “unconscious or apparently unconscious.”
The concussion symptoms that officials must now look for now not only include loss of consciousness but also “headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems.”
The press release also quotes Dr. Michael Koester, chairman of the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
“Given that the vast majority of concussions do not include a loss of consciousness…the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee strongly believes that officials should be empowered to remove these athletes from play, thus protecting them from further injury,” Koester said. “Continued participation in any sport following a concussion can lead to worsening concussion symptoms, as well as increased risk for further injury to the brain and even death.”
The National Federation of State High School Associations’ Football Rules Committee approved the rule change relating to concussions in a meeting last month, and that change was later approved by the NFHS board.