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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    Report Document No. 82
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2016

    Document Title
    Implementation of School Divisions’ Student-Athlete Concussion Policies

    Author
    Virginia Commission on Youth

    Enabling Authority
    30-175 (2.)

    Executive Summary
    During the 2015 General Assembly Session legislation was introduced by Delegate Luke Torian (House Bill 2006) and Senator Richard Stuart (Senate Bill 998). The legislation as introduced would have required each local school division to establish a management plan for implementation of and compliance with its policies and procedures on the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes. The Senate Education and Health Committee and the House Education Committee members reviewed these bills and determined that further study of this issue would be appropriate. The members of the Committees requested the Commission on Youth to study the provisions set forth in the legislation.

    The Commission on Youth adopted a student-athlete study plan at its May 5, 2015 meeting. After presentations of the findings and recommendations at the Commission’s October 20 and December 8 meetings, and receipt of public comment, the Commission on Youth approved the following recommendations:

    Recommendation 1

    Request the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to assess the feasibility of conducting regional information training sessions on updated concussion guidelines and concussion awareness. VDH previously conducted these trainings after the adoption of the 2011 Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

    The Departments are encouraged to use materials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other nationally recognized resources as a guideline for presenting information to communities. Information presented should focus on identification of concussions, the use of smart phone applications, short-term and long-term health effects of concussions, and safety precautions.

    Recommendation 2

    Request the VDOE to develop additional guidance for the Return-to-Learn protocols that may be included in the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes. Guidance should include case management procedures for return to learn, minimum standards for return to learn, and practical strategies for teachers to implement in the classroom. In addition, the Guidelines should include template communication consent forms that school divisions may use to help assist with the sharing of information between schools, families, and the medical community. School divisions should be encouraged to identify a person within school/school division to ensure that the Return-to-Learn protocol is being followed.

    Recommendation 3

    Amend 22.1-271.6 of the Code of Virginia to require local school divisions develop policies and procedures regarding "Return-to-Learn Protocol" by July 1, 2016, consistent with either the local school division's policies and procedures or the Board's Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

    Recommendation 4

    Amend 22.1-271.6 of the Code of Virginia to change the group covered by the statute from student-athlete to student.

    Recommendation 5

    Request the Virginia Department of Education convene a stakeholder team to provide best practices resources for school divisions to use which outlines what other school divisions are doing with their policies on student-athlete concussions. Such resources shall help connect schools that do it well with schools that are having difficulty either developing policies or implementing them.

    Recommendation 6

    Introduce a budget amendment to provide funding for low population density/poverty areas for additional supports in assisting students with concussions to return to the classroom successfully. Funding may be used for a licensed school nurse position employed by the school division, a licensed nurse contracted by the local school division, or a certified athletic trainer. Funding shall be used to support the Return-to-Learn protocol as defined by the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

    Recommendation 7

    Request VDOE contact school divisions identified by the Virginia Commission on Youth as either not having a policy regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes or that have missing components, such as annual parental review of the division’s concussion policies. VDOE will work with these school divisions to provide technical assistance and resources so that these divisions expeditiously adopt policies that fulfill the requirements set forth in the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

    Recommendation 8

    Introduce legislation requiring a Pre-Participation Physical Examination (PPE) for athletes participating in school-sponsored athletics in middle school.

    Recommendation 9

    Request the Virginia Recreational Sports Association, the Virginia Youth Football and Cheering League, and the Virginia Youth Soccer Association to investigate ways to encourage concussion education including: providing strategies in concussion prevention, the development of a youth league report card for meeting safety standards for their members; and the establishment of policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes, consistent with either local school division’s policies and procedures or the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

    Recommendation 10

    Request the Virginia Council for Private Education to investigate ways to encourage concussion education, to provide strategies in concussion prevention, and to establish policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes, consistent with either the local school division's policies and procedures or the Board of Education’s Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.