Physicians Now Need State-Approved Concussion Training to Clear Student-Athletes

State regulations now require physicians and others who provide medical clearance for students participating in Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) activities to verify that they have received state-approved training in traumatic head injury assessment and management, or equivalent continuing education or licensure training.

Before the season starts, these students, including those participating in sports, cheerleading, and marching band, must receive medical clearance that documents any past head injuries.

Medical clearance must also be provided after any head injuries sustained during the season, whether or not the injury was sustained during an MIAA activity. Medical clearance must be documented on state forms, which can be found on the Massachusetts DPH website.

Sports are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), along with falls, motor vehicle accidents, unintentional blows, and assaults. The CDC puts the number of sports and recreation-related TBIs occurring in the United States each year between 1.6 and 3.8 million. Most of these are mild cases and not treated in a hospital.

Duration of TBI symptoms is highly variable and may last days, weeks, months, or in some cases, even longer. Research shows that recovery time may be longer for children and adolescents.

State-approved trainings and medical clearance forms, along with other related resources can be found on mass.gov/dph/sportsconcussion.

— Robyn Alie
MMS Public Health Manager

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