Policy change reduces further injury from concussions

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Both of Alabama’s largest high school athletic associations have approved changes to their concussion policy over recent years.

In 2009, the Alabama High School Athletic Associations approved changes to help reduce the number of potentially concussed players from returning to the field of play.

“The reason for the change was for the protection of the student-athletes,” AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese said.

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The policy’s main augmentation came to the “return to play” portion. Before 2010, a player deemed fit to play by a coach was eligible to return to the field. With the change, a player must be cleared by a physician before re-entering the game.

Savarese feels the “return to play” change has been most beneficial.

“Last year, any player with symptoms of a concussion was evaluated by a physician prior  to re-admittance to the game. Therefore, the results were favorable for the safety of the player.”

In July of 2010, the Alabama Independent School Association instituted the same policy.

While players can not be fully protected from injuries in a contact sport, Savarese feels long term head and neck injuries will be greatly reduced.

“Data over the past several years has demonstrated the long term effects of concussions so along with the National Federation of State High School Associations, we have instituted the new concussion policy for the overall safety of the players.”