A concussion is a serious injury, so proper reporting, diagnosis and treatment are crucial. Student-athlete wellbeing is a priority for the NCAA and has been a key component of our mission for more than 100 years. The NCAA is a leader in evaluating the impact of concussions in sport and has produced research and best practices to mitigate the potential effects of head injuries.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, the NCAA announced in May 2014 a $30 million effort to fund the most comprehensive clinical study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted, and issue an educational grand challenge aimed at changing important concussion safety behaviors in college sports and ultimately, the military. Over the next three years, the study will perform baseline assessments on more than 37,000 student-athletes, plus repeat assessments on any individual who suffers a concussion. This landmark research will establish the natural history of concussion including risks, treatment and management. The educational grand challenge, to be launched in September 2014, will seek to change the culture of concussion reporting and management among coaches, administrators and student-athletes. Combined with previous research funded by the NCAA, this initiative will develop resources for providing student-athletes with the best care possible.
NCAA member schools are a critical component of these efforts. Our campuses recognize the responsibility they have to care for their student-athletes. To empower campus personnel and others with the most up-to-date information on concussions, the NCAA provides detailed recommendations in its Sports Medicine Handbook Guideline 21—a publication that is available to every NCAA member school. The NCAA also provides resources to raise awareness of concussions among student-athletes.
In addition to playing rules aimed at providing a safer playing environment, such as prohibiting helmet-to-helmet contact, the NCAA requires each member school to have a concussion management plan in place. These plans detail when a player should be removed from practice or competition and give guidelines for evaluation by a health care provider before returning to play. If a student-athlete shows signs of a concussion, he or she is not permitted to return to play the same day of the injury.