Wake Schools considering county-wide concussion policy

Wake County News

Wake County schools are considering a county-wide concussion policy.

Many schools in the system already have protocols, but the Board of Education is looking to implement a standard system of identifying and reacting to head injuries. High schools require completion of an Athletic Participation Form which has a full page on concussions. 

The new policy set for discussion at the school board’s March 20 evening meeting cites the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act of 2011, a law passed to protect players following the death of 15-year-old Matthew Gfeller. A sophomore from Winston-Salem, Gfeller died two days after suffering a severe head trauma during his first varsity football game.

Wake County’s senior director of middle school programs, Dr. Kengie Bass, and district athletic director Deran Coe plan to present the the Concussion and Head Injury Policy to the school board. If approved, it will require all students and parents to sign the head injury information sheet and submit it to their coach. Each school’s principal must maintain the files.

Coaches and staff must prohibit players who suffer such injuries from participation in any athletic activities, including practice, until they obtain clearance from a qualified medical professional. Principals must also keep records of compliance and have a specific emergency action plan for their school which is approved by a licensed athletic trainer.

The policy also calls for efforts to be made to provide funding for each school to have an athletic trainer or first responder available for all games and practices of high school and middle school sports. The goal is for every school to be ready to respond to concussions in a consistent fashion.

The board is not expected to vote on the policy at Tuesday’s meeting.

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