Comprehensive, Easy-to-Use Resource for School Districts to Meet State Concussion Guidelines Effective Sept.1
AUSTIN, Texas (August 2, 2012) – Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is collaborating with Austin startup, Concussion Health, to establish an easy-to-use web-based resource that makes complying with state concussion legislation straightforward and more efficient for school administrators.
Appropriately named, Concussion Compliance, makes it easy to store protocols and share information about concussion management programs, discover best practices, and access default return-to-play forms. The web site is operational for Texas and other states will be added throughout the year.
“We are pleased to partner with Concussion Health to share this unique and innovative program for school administrators, parents, and athletes,” said Dr. Michael Reardon, pediatric neurologist and medical director for the Dell Children’s Concussion Center. “Concussion Compliance will help fill an educational void and provide greater awareness about proper concussion management.”
About a year ago, Texas Governor Perry signed HB 2038, commonly referred to as Natasha’s Law. The components of the law applied to the 2011/2012 school year, while allowing school districts to be fully compliant by Sept. 1, 2012, in preparation for the 2012/13 school year. The components include:
• Concussion Oversight Team
• Removal from Play
• Waiver and Graded Protocol to Return to Play
• Specific Education/Training for all medical providers
• State Wide Tracking/Logging of Concussions
The law, named for Natasha Helmick, a Texas State University athlete whose soccer career ended after five concussions in four years, applies to interscholastic athletic activity, including practice and competition, sponsored or sanctioned by a school district, a public school, including a charter school, or the University Interscholastic League.
“While high school coaches and athletic trainers across the state are required to implement concussion management policies, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about the best methods for addressing the care of student-athletes and how to comply with the new law,” said William “Bucky” Taylor. An instrumental force in the passage of Natasha’s Law, Taylor served as head athletic trainer at Mesquite High School, Mesquite, Texas, for 36 years. His research into concussions and the development of Mesquite’s return-to-play policy for athletes were featured on Dan Rather Reports in 2010; he now works as an itinerant trainer in Mesquite ISD and as a consultant to the Sports Medicine Clinic of North Texas in Dallas.
“We are offering a simple solution that can save school administrators time and provide the district with the vital information they need – either by storing the required information in one centralized database and/or by viewing what other school districts are doing,” said Concussion Health co-founder Bridgett Wallace, PT, DPT.
At concussioncompliance.com, school administrators, athletic directors, and athletic trainers use an automated dashboard to log their school’s information, upload concussion forms and protocols, and enter their concussion oversight team. This simple solution saves time and provides the school district with the vital information they need – either by storing the required information in one centralized database and/or by viewing what other school districts are doing.
Specifically, Natasha’s Law calls for school districts to put together a concussion oversight team (COT) who is responsible for developing protocols for concussion care. The team must include a Texas licensed physician (although multiple physicians can serve on the same team). To the greatest extent practicable, the COT must include one or more of the following Texas licensed health care providers: an athletic trainer, an advanced practice nurse, and a neuropsychologist or physician assistant. Additionally, anyone serving on the COT is required to complete concussion management coursework. The law further stipulates that coaches cannot serve on the COT, but are required to complete concussion management coursework.
Dell Children’s and Concussion Health collaborated on several concussion education videos – featuring experts in the fields of neurosciences, sports medicine and athletic training – that teach best concussion management practice and help meet the needs of the coursework requirement. The videos- free and easily accessible on the concussion compliance web site-educate coaches, athletic trainers and other caregivers about matters related to concussions, including when it is safe for the student-athlete to return to the classroom or physical activity.
The videos are one component of the comprehensive Concussion Compliance web site specifically designed to address the questions of each individual on the athlete’s support team.