USSA values the welfare of USSA ski and snowboard athletes. Concussion management of young athletes is an important issue for all of us. It is our responsibility as clubs, officials, coaches and parents to ensure that athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion are managed carefully, and that their return to sport program is cleared by a qualified health care provider.
USSA legal issues with concussion injuries - Utah House Bill 204
USSA is a Utah Corporation; all USSA members and activities are bound by Utah law requiring Utah based Amateur Sports Organizations to implement a concussion policy and concussion management protocol applying to minors (under age of 18).
USSA Clubs operating in states other than Utah may also be subject to state law with different provisions than Utah. For concussion laws in your state, click here.
USSA Concussion Policy
All USSA members, and their parents in the case of minors, are required to review and acknowledge the USSA Concussion Policy which is captured below.
USSA Concussion Policy for Members
Any USSA athlete under the age of 18 years suspected of having sustained a concussion/ traumatic brain injury must be removed immediately from participation in USSA sporting event (e.g. sanctioned training, practice, camps, competitions or tryouts), by the Technical Delegate or USSA member coach overseeing such sporting event. The minor athlete will be prohibited from further participation until evaluated and cleared in writing to resume participation in USSA sporting events by a qualified health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussive head injuries. The health care professional must certify to USSA in the clearance letter that he/she has successfully completed a continuing education course in the evaluation and management of concussive head injuries within three years of the day on which the written statement is made.
Upon removal of a minor athlete from participation for a suspected concussion/traumatic brain injury, the USSA TD or member coach making the removal must inform USSA Competition Services. Athletes who have subsequently been medically cleared to resume participation must provide such medical clearance (as described above) to USSA Competition Services in order to be permitted to participate in USSA sporting events.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Doctors may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, their effects can be serious.
Risk of Continued Participation
A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first—usually within a short period of time (hours, days, or weeks)—can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. In rare cases, repeat concussions can result in edema (brain swelling), permanent brain damage, and even death.
The USSA recommends that Members review the Center for Disease Control’s resources on concussion awareness at http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
In summary and consistent with Utah House Bill 204 the USSA has:
Action Plan and USSA Administrative Role
Concussion Action Plan
USSA Administrative Role
Forms, Reporting and Athletes on Membership Hold
Report a suspected concussion to Jeff Weinman. Include the athlete's name, USSA ID, date and place of suspected concussion and if you feel that a USSA Secondary Insurance Claim may be filed please attach a completed American Specialty First Report of Accident Form.
List of Athletes on Membership Hold - this list is being hosted as a Google Doc this year
USSA Concussion Frequently Asked Questions
For Clubs, Coaches, Officials and Parents: USSA encourages all club programs, coaches and officials to utilize the following link as a minimum for concussion education. http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
For Clubs: Think Head First provides a comprehensive program to deliver education, awareness and proper management when injury occurs. http://thinkheadfirst.com/
For Parents and Clubs: Another great resource 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/
View these video clips on Center of Excellence TV from an educational session hosted by the Utah Olympic Park; the clips include discussion from Melinda Roalstad from Think Heads First and provide some powerful information about concussions.
Returning to the playing field after a concussion - from Time magazine, January 2009