Concussion Frequently Asked Questions
The USSA Concussion Policy refers to minors, what about seniors? The policy applies to all USSA participant members and requires review and signature by all members. While the policy refers to all members and requires that minor athletes be benched in the case of suspected concussion, under the authority of the USSA Head Coach or Technical Delegate, any athlete may be benched in competition or training regardless of age due to suspected concussion. Only minors are required to be placed on membership hold pending clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in concussion management.
What does a TD or Head Coach, do to react to a suspected concussion?
An athlete is suspected of a concussion injury during Friday's training, how do they compete in Saturday or Sunday competition? The Competition Organizer along with the jury will accept a signed Medical Evaluation Form authorizing return to competition if the form is properly completed and signed by a licensed health care provider and signed and presented by the parent or the legal guardian (not the coach) of the athlete to the Organizers and Jury. This release must be presented and accepted prior to the team captains meeting and the draw. The parent or legal guardian must follow-up immediately by emailing the release to USSA in order to remove the athlete from the membership hold roster. The document must also be attached to the official USSA results that are submitted by the organizing committee. This could also apply to athletes being cleared during a period when the USSA office was not available to acknowledge the signed and completed medical form and remove the athlete from the membership hold roster.
How does a Race Organizer know if an athlete is on a concussion hold? USSA will host a roster of athletes who are on USSA membership hold or suspension due to medical reasons. The roster will be available on the website and will be updated regularly to reflect the athletes who are on hold and also to remove the athletes who have been cleared.
Where can I find the "USSA membership hold roster"? On the USSA Club Resource Concussion landing page: http://ussa.org/global/concussion-information
Who is qualified to sign the release authorizing the athlete to return to competition or training? A licensed health care provider who is trained in the evaluation and management of a concussion and who has, within three years before the day on which the written statement is made, successfully completed a continuing education course in the evaluation and management of a concussion.
Who is authorized to place an athlete on membership hold due to suspected concussion? In the case of USSA competition or official training the jury has the authority and the TD has final authority. In the case of club training, the USSA Coach who is in charge of the training session.
How does a coach report a concussion to USSA? Utilize the American Specialties' First Report of injury form that is posted on the USSA Concussion landing page: http://ussa.org/global/concussion-information
Many states have Concussion Law, what takes precedence? The USSA Concussion Policy requirements must be followed. However many states have also enacted head injury laws that may include additional requirements/restrictions. Please review the law for your state and, if required, contact USSA for direction. Additionally, if working in another state, you may wish to discuss with the Head Coach or Chief of Race, how the local club usually handles head injuries. This is a developing area of responsibility and it is important to be aware that USSA may provide further guidance in the future. Click here for state laws on concussion.
Does this USSA policy and procedure regarding concussion apply to FIS races in the USA? Yes, USSA is responsible for the conduct of those events held within the USA, these decisions by the TD and Jury need to be in concert with the FIS rules. In the case of foreign minor athletes attending USA FIS races it would be advisable for the TD to alert all of the Team Captains of the USSA concussion policy and procedures.
What if a member coach influences the decision of the TD and jury to bench an athlete for the purpose of advancing his own athlete? Unethical behavior of this nature will not be tolerated, all athletes are entitled to due process, the TD and jury will endeavor to provide due process in all decisions relative to competition.
What if a coach enters an athlete who had a concussion previously? Parents MUST also take responsibility! The coach and home club could be liable in this situation. It is critical that USSA coaches respond to and report on suspected concussion injuries in order to protect the welfare of the athlete and to be accountable to their home club. Suspected concussion injuries that occur in training must be reported by the coach to USSA on the standard American Specialties Insurance First Report of Injury with email or fax to USSA in order that the athlete can be placed on USSA Membership Hold.
What symptoms may be utilized by the competition TD or USSA Member Coach in identifying a suspected concussion? Concussion symptoms differ with each person and with each injury, and may not be noticeable for hours or days. More complete information is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
Common symptoms include:
How do I locate a medical professional to help manage and clear the injured athlete? Club leaders should identify a volunteer medical coordinator to help network and route various medical issues for the local athlete. Other resources could include inquiring with USSA about their recommendations. Another recommendation for concussion management at the club level is ImPACT. Check out the services they provide by visiting their website and locate a qualified medical provider trained in concussion management. http://www.impacttest.com/
For parents, we recommend the imPACT testing so that they have an impartial opinion on the status of their child's concussion. Kids often are keen to get back too soon, and will underplay the effects. As we know this can be extremely dangerous, and so with the testing the decision is pretty black and white, and takes the onus off of the parents being the "bad guys".
Is our Club covered under USSA policy and procedures for concussion issues or do we, as a club, need to also have a policy? We recommend that the club has their own policy in order to adhere to and be in compliance with both State Law and with USSA policy. You are welcome to use or adapt our policy as much as possible. The important thing is that you adhere to the law.