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Concussion Reporting Process Frequently Asked Questions

Q1:      Are all member schools obligated to report concussion information?

A1:      Yes. Section IX.C. of the Arrington Settlement Agreement obligates the NCAA to “create a reporting process through which member institutions will report instances of diagnosed concussions in NCAA student-athletes and their resolution.” In January 2020, all three NCAA divisions passed emergency or noncontroversial legislation (Division I Constitution 4.3.4.21;Division II Constitution 3.3.4.18; Division III Constitution 3.2.4.18) requiring an active member institution “to report all instances of diagnosed sport-related concussions in student-athletes and their resolution to the NCAA on an annual basis pursuant to policies and procedures maintained by the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.”

The legislation requires all schools to collect and report on concussions diagnosed on or after May 18, 2020, the date that is six months after the effective date of the Arrington Settlement Agreement.

Q2:      What is the reporting deadline?

A2:      Pursuant to the legislation referenced above but intending to provide schools with flexibility, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) has approved an annual cycle or window during which schools will report concussions. The reporting cycle runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, which parallels the calendar footprint of a typical academic year. Schools may report at any time during the reporting cycle, or may report several times during a cycle, but it is anticipated that most schools will elect to report late in the cycle to ensure that they have an accurate accounting of the concussions that occurred during the preceding academic year. The NCAA Sport Science Institute will provide an annual reminder to schools of the reporting requirements ahead of the June 30 deadline.

Special Note – Initial Report: NCAA legislation requires that schools  report concussions that are diagnosed from May 18, 2020 forward. As the initial 2020-21 reporting cycle does not begin until July 1, 2020, schools will be expected to report all concussions that are diagnosed from May 18, 2020 thru the date the school chooses to report prior to the end of the first annual reporting cycle on June 30, 2021. In subsequent years, schools will report those concussions occurring since the date of their last reporting.

Q3.      Where can we find the reporting portal?

A3.      The concussion reporting portal will be available on July 1, 2020. Anytime on or after that date,  the portal can be found at www.annualconcussionreporting.com  

Q4:          Who should report concussions on behalf of the institution?

A4:      Neither NCAA legislation nor the CSMAS-approved reporting process prescribes which institutional personnel must complete the report on behalf of the institution. However, it must be an individual with an institutional email address as that contact information, along with the reporter’s role at the institution, will be requested at the time of reporting. While the oversight responsibilities of the Athletics Health Care Administrator should place that individual in an advantageous position to perform this reporting function, member institutions have flexibility to designate reporting responsibility as they deem appropriate. At a minimum, it is reasonable to expect that the Athletics Health Care Administrator will, as part of his or her broader oversight responsibilities, verify that this personnel decision has been addressed.

Q5.          Can my institution contract with a third party to report on behalf of the school?

A5:          Neither the Arrington Settlement Agreement nor NCAA legislation prohibit a third-party service provider from completing the required reporting activities on behalf of a member institution. However, the reporter’s school email address will be requested as part of the reporting process. Therefore, the institution will need to assign the third party an institutional email address or identify an alternative method of properly satisfying that step in the reporting process.

Q6:          What information must be submitted as part of the report?

A6:          Pursuant to the legislation described in response to Question #1 above, the CSMAS-approved reporting process establishes that, in addition to basic demographic and contact information (e.g., name, institutional affiliation), the individual reporting on behalf of the member institution will be required to report two data points: (1) Aggregate number of student-athlete concussions diagnosed within the defined reporting period as the result of practice or competition activities related to all NCAA sports at the institution; and (2) Of the aggregate number of diagnosed concussions reported, the number that resolved within the defined reporting period. No case, sport or patient-specific information will be required as part of the reporting process.  

Q7:      How is concussion “resolution” defined?

A7:      Pursuant to the legislation referenced in question #1 above, CSMAS has determined that a concussion should be considered resolved if the student-athlete has returned to baseline by the time of reporting.

Q8:          What if the student-athlete transfers or graduates and the school isn’t certain about return to baseline?

A8:          If, for any reason, the school does not have evidence of return to baseline at the time of reporting, it should not report the concussion as resolved.

Q9:          Do we have to report all concussions that have been diagnosed in all student-athletes during the defined reporting period?

A9:      Legislation requiring reporting and referenced in question #1 above intends that schools will report all instances of diagnosed concussions sustained by NCAA student-athletes as the result of practice or competition activities related to an NCAA sport.

Q10:    How will reported information be utilized, and with whom will it be shared?

A10:    The primary purpose of this concussion reporting process is to satisfy the requirements of the Arrington Settlement Agreement and established NCAA legislation as per question #1 above. In 2014, the NCAA and U.S. Department of Defense launched the Concussion Assessment, Research and Education Consortium project (CARE). It is the largest concussion and repetitive head impact study in history and now includes over than 50,000 participants from 30 campuses across the country. The CARE research, along with the NCAA Injury Surveillance System, will continue to be leveraged as the primary sources for validated research data and information pertaining to sport-related concussion. More information about the CARE research can be found here.

Neither the Arrington Settlement Agreement nor NCAA legislation requires that the data be disclosed after reporting and, in light of the limitations around the intent and design of the reporting system, we do not anticipate that reported data will be shared with member institutions or any external parties.

Q11:    If our school participates in the CARE study or the NCAA Injury Surveillance System, will that satisfy its concussion reporting obligation?

A11:    No. Data related to CARE research, the NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS) and the annual concussion reporting requirement will be separately reported and maintained in separate database systems, such that a school’s participation in CARE research or the ISS will not impact or satisfy the legislative requirement to also report concussion information. Regardless of whether a school is participating in CARE or ISS, it is still separately obligated to complete the annual concussion reporting. 

Q12:    How will student-athlete privacy/confidentiality be safeguarded?

A12:    As explained in question #5 above, required data are to be reported on a deidentified, aggregated basis; and, therefore, reporting will not involve the submission or maintenance of any protected personal or health information.

Q13:    How will I know if the system was working properly and that my report was successfully submitted?

A13:    The NCAA has developed step-by-step instructions to guide reporters’ use of the reporting website. They are communicated in a separate document, which is available here. As those instructions indicate, the designated reporter will receive a confirmation email after completing the online submission. This email will include a confirmation number as well as the number of concussions and resolved concussions so that reporters can verify the accuracy of their submission. Member institutions are encouraged to retain a copy of the confirmation email on file.

Q14:    What should the person reporting do if they don’t receive an email confirming submission  of concussion information?

A14:    Members with technical issues about the concussion reporting website or process may contact the site administrator directly by phone at 855-832-4222 or email at  info@datalyscenter.org.

 

Q15:    What should I do if I have substantive, non-technical questions about the concussion reporting requirements or related legislation and/or process?

A15:    Substantive questions about the NCAA concussion reporting requirements should be directed to the NCAA Sport Science Institute at: ssi@ncaa.org