Sport Science Institute

CARE Consortium: Sleep duration and concussion recovery

Nicole Hoffman led a team of researchers who examined how someone's sleep duration affects symptoms and recovery in the days after a concussion.

CARE Consortium: Concussion test-retest reliability

Researchers examined the performance of commonly used concussion assessment tools in a November 2017 paper published in Sports Medicine.

Fourth Annual NCAA-DoD Grand Alliance Concussion Conference

The NCAA, U.S. Department of Defense, Atlantic Coast Conference and Virginia Tech are excited to invite you to the Fourth Annual Sports-Related Concussion Conference.

This day-long event will be held virtually Friday, April 30, 2021. NCAA member schools will be able to attend this conference at no cost.

During the event, concussion experts and researchers will share preliminary and recently publicized data from the NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense Grand Alliance, the largest concussion study and educational grand challenge ever conducted. The conference will build on the prior sport-related concussion conferences hosted in partnership with the NCAA, Department of Defense, and participating member schools and conferences. Lectures will be didactic and demonstrative, and there will be ample time for panel discussions and questions and answers.

Click here to download the agenda.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Medical Society of Virginia through the joint providership of Carilion Clinic’s CME Program and Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology & Applied Science. Carilion Clinic’s CME Program is accredited by The Medical Society of Virginia to provide continuing medical education for physicians.Carilion Clinic’s CME Program designates this live activity for a maximum 7.67 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Approval is pending for CEUs for athletic trainers.

Previous Conferences:

  • Researchers shared preliminary findings from the largest-ever study of concussion in sport at the first annual sport-related concussion conference hosted by the Pac-12 Conference at the University of California, Los Angeles. Read more about the event.
  • The Second Annual NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense Grand Alliance Concussion Conference was held on Friday, Apr. 20, 2018 at Eisenhower Hall on the USMA campus in West Point, NY.  Download the conference syllabus.
  • The Third Annual NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense Grand Alliance Concussion Conference was held on Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2019 at the Discovery Building on the campus of University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin.  Download the conference syllabus.

NCAA Divisions I and II Health and Safety Survey

NCAA legislation passed in 2017 [NCAA Division I Constitution 3.2.4.23] and in 2019 [ NCAA Division II Constitution 3.3.4.22] require schools to complete this survey, which is overseen by the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the survey:

What is the purpose of the health and safety survey?

The health and safety survey is designed to collect information on the administrative and organizational aspects of Divisions I and II sports medicine programs. Data from the survey will be incorporated into the NCAA Institutional Performance Program and will allow schools to assess how they compare with peer institutions on issues related to athletics health care delivery and administration.

What is the NCAA Institutional Performance Program?

The IPP is a data management system that provides the NCAA membership with vital and significant data to assist with the planning, performance and oversight of their athletics programs. Early iterations of the IPP focused on financial, academic and leadership data that were of primary interest to presidents and chancellors. The addition of health and safety data is an important expansion of the system and may be used to inform the work of athletics health care administrators and primary athletics health care providers (i.e., athletic trainers and team physicians).

How will the health and safety data be collected?

Data will be collected through the completion of a survey, to be distributed to athletics health care administrators on an annual basis. The survey was developed by a task force of athletic trainers, physicians and researchers and was piloted with the Division I membership in the fall of 2014. In April 2017, the Division I Council and the Division II Presidents Council in January 2019 passed legislation requiring schools to complete an annual health and safety survey.

What kinds of questions will be asked on the survey?

The survey includes questions that focus on the organizational and administrative aspects of athletics health care delivery. Questions about personnel, facilities, policies and medical documentation strategies are included, among others.

Who on campus will receive the survey? Who is expected to respond to it?

The athletics health care administrator is in the best position to respond to the survey, though others, such as the primary athletics health care providers (i.e., athletic trainers and team physicians) may be consulted. The survey will be delivered directly to the athletics health care administrator, who will have responsibility for ensuring final submission of a completed survey.

How long will it take to complete the survey?

The survey will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete. Progress may be saved throughout the survey, and multiple sessions may be used to complete the survey. To use the save feature, the same browser and same computer must be used for all sessions. Returning to a saved survey on a different browser or different computer will result in the survey starting from the beginning.

How often will the survey need to be completed?

Divisions I and II legislation requires schools to complete the survey on an annual basis. The survey will be delivered in late November and remain open until mid-January each year.

Is there a way to reduce the length of time required to complete the survey?

The survey covers a wide variety of topics that have been deemed important by sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and the Divisions I and II membership. While it is likely the survey will change subtly over the years in response to emerging issues, it is difficult to make major changes without sacrificing topics of interest to the membership and the broader athletics health care community. Participants will, however, be given an opportunity to print the survey upon completion and save it to their computer. It is strongly recommended that schools save their responses to expedite the completion process for subsequent years.

Will schools be able to see the results of the survey?

Yes. Once the survey closes, the NCAA research office will analyze the data. Results will then be uploaded to the IPP system and made available to the Divisions I and II membership each summer.

What should schools do with the results?

The IPP system was created as a resource for NCAA member institutions to assist them in their efforts at self-assessment and self-improvement. The health and safety data will provide an unprecedented opportunity for institutions to understand how the organizational and administrative components of athletics health care delivery compare with those of peer institutions. The IPP will allow for a real-time visualization of the established or emerging standard of care for the organization and administration of athletics health care delivery. With this information, institutions will be able to comprehensively assess their offerings and identify areas for potential improvement.

NCAA Catastrophic Sport Injury Reporting FAQs

This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about NCAA Catastrophic Sport Injury Report legislation. To report a catastrophic injury or fatality, visit the online reporting portal at www.sportinjuryreport.org/NCAAReport.

What is NCAA catastrophic sport injury report legislation, and when did it go into effect?

NCAA Catastrophic Sport Injury Report legislation is an association-wide legislative mandate that went into effect August 1, 2014. The legislation requires all NCAA member schools to report catastrophic events experienced by student athletes on their campus.

Who should report student-athlete fatalities and catastrophic injuries?

Responsibility for reporting a catastrophic injury should belong to an individual, or team of individuals, who is most likely to be aware of a catastrophic event and have the necessary knowledge and authority to submit the report on behalf of the institution. In most cases, this individual holds the position of athletics health care administrator, athletic trainer, team physician, compliance administrator or director of athletics or risk manager; however, schools have the flexibility to designate the most appropriate individual on their campus based on their local policies and procedures.

How should institutions report catastrophic events?

An online portal has been developed to facilitate confidential and secure reporting of catastrophic events. Once submitted, the data will be managed by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with whom the NCAA has contracted to manage the reporting portal. The portal can be found at www.sportinjuryreport.org/NCAAReport.

What types and severity of injuries and/or illnesses are considered catastrophic and should be reported?

According to existing legislation, catastrophic events are categorized as the following:

  • Fatality
  • Nonfatal: permanent severe-functional disability
  • Serious: no permanent functional disability but severe injury.

Category No. 2 refers to injury or illness that does not result in death, but that leaves the student-athlete with permanent levels of disability. For example, a spinal cord injury may not result in death, but it may leave the student-athlete with permanent paralysis of one or more parts of the body.

Category No. 3 refers to injury or illness that is life-threatening, but that does not result in death and from which the student-athlete makes a full recovery. For example, a spinal cord injury that does not result in death, but that may produce temporary paralysis that eventually resolves.

What are additional specific examples of categories No. 2 and No. 3 injuries identified in the legislation?

Examples of the most frequent types of injuries that must be reported include:

For category No. 2, non-fatal events with permanent disability:

  • Traumatic injury to the spinal cord, brain, eye, or internal organs; skull fracture or spinal cord disruption.
  • Exertional injury resulting from athletic activity including personal fitness & conditioning activities resulting in: exertional heat stroke, rhabdomyolysis or exertional sickling with subsequent disability.
  • Cardiac events – all are included, even those not directly associated with physical activity: Sudden cardiac arrest with subsequent disability.

For category No. 3, serious injury, but without permanent disability:

  • Spinal cord injury with severe semi-permanent disability (temporary paralysis).
  • Heat stroke, rhabdomyolysis or sickling event, with subsequent full recovery.
  • Skull fracture with associated bleeding, with subsequent full recovery.
  • A sudden cardiac arrest, with subsequent full recovery.
  • Commotio cordis (blunt chest impact causing cardiac arrest), with subsequent full recovery.
  • Lightning injury, with subsequent full recovery.
  • Motor vehicle crashes, with subsequent full recovery.

What if the event is unclear and doesn’t fit neatly into any of the categories or guidance provided above?

When in doubt, report. You can also direct questions to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at nccsir@unc.edu or 919-843-8357 or to the NCAA Sport Science Institute at ssi@ncaa.org.

Does this mandate only apply to injuries / illness that occur during practice or games?

No. The mandate applies to all catastrophic events involving a student-athlete, regardless of the context in which the event happened.

Is an institution required to report catastrophic injuries or fatalities for student-athletes who have exhausted eligibility (e.g., football student-athlete in the spring of his senior year)?

Yes. Institutions are required to report catastrophic injuries or fatalities occurring during any academic year in which a student-athlete is enrolled.

How can I get a copy of my report?

After the report is submitted, institutions will have the option to save a pdf copy of their report. Institutions may also contact the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research directly to obtain a copy of their report at nccsir@unc.edu.

How will information on catastrophic events be stored?

All procedures for gathering information have been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (IRB #15-1394) and by the NCAA Research Review Board. All data will be stored on a secure portal hosted by Arivium. Any physical copies of data will be stored in locked file cabinets in a secure office at the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. For more information about security of information and IRB approvals, please contact the NCCSIR at nccsir@unc.edu.

Does this proposal establish a deadline for the submission of data to the NCAA?

Institutions are encouraged to report incidents as soon as enough information is available to provide an accurate report. As a minimum, institutions are required to report on an annual basis.

Are there additional benefits of reporting for an institution?

An annual report will be prepared for the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. This report will provide unprecedented insight into catastrophic events occurring to NCAA student-athletes, and will inform policy decision and prevention strategies.

Does this proposal impact an injured student athlete’s ability to receive benefits through the catastrophic injury insurance program?

No.

Are all three divisions required to report catastrophic injuries and fatalities?

Yes.

NCAA Catastrophic Sport Injury Reporting

NCAA Association-wide legislation requires member schools to report annually on all student-athlete fatalities and catastrophic injuries, regardless of whether such fatality/injury is sport-related. Although fatalities and catastrophic injuries among college athletes are rare, identifying the causes and circumstances of catastrophic events are critical to developing effective prevention and response strategies.

To assist with the collection of this data, the NCAA Sport Science Institute has partnered with the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research and the Datalys Center. Individuals who have been designated to report a catastrophic event occurring to an NCAA student-athlete must submit data to the center, detailing student-athlete fatalities, near fatalities and catastrophic injuries (e.g., injuries and illnesses related to the head, neck, spine, heart, lungs, heat, sickle cell trait and eyes). The reporting institution is responsible for obtaining all consents and releases necessary or required to submit this information.

To report a catastrophic event through the online reporting tool, visit www.sportinjuryreport.org/NCAAReport.

To report a catastrophic event by phone, call the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at 919-843-8357.

Air Quality

In September 2018, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports updated its 2016 guidance related to student-athlete practice and competition activities in poor air quality conditions: This guidance is provided below:

There are three reasons why otherwise healthy athletes are at special risk for inhaling pollutants. First, as physical activity increases minute ventilation, the number of pollutants that are inhaled relative to when the athlete is at rest are increased. Second, during activity, a larger proportion of air is inhaled through the mouth, which bypasses the body’s built-in nasal filtration system. Third, pollutants are inhaled more deeply and may diffuse into the bloodstream more quickly during physical activity. These risks are heightened in athletes with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiac conditions.1

An important and standardized national air quality resource is the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Air Quality Forecast System. This system “provides the US with ozone, particulate matter and other pollutant forecasts with enough accuracy and advance notice to take action to prevent or reduce adverse effects.” (Accessed 7/14/18; ).

A key component of this forecast system is the NWS Air Quality Index (AQI).2The AQI provides real-time monitoring and alerts in response to changing air quality levels. The AQI accounts for five different pollutants, including: 1) ground-level ozone; 2) particle pollution (also known as particulate matter); 3) carbon monoxide; 4) sulfur dioxide; and 5) nitrogen dioxide. Of these, ground-level ozone and particulate matter are the most common and most concerning pollutants for outdoor physical activity. The AQI is a single number, presented on a scale of 0 – 500, where 0 indicated no air quality problems and 500 indicates the most hazardous levels of air pollution. A specialized version of the AQI for particle pollution is also available and should be consulted in those situations when threats to air quality come from wildfires, road dust, and agricultural operations.2

When threatening or dangerous air quality levels are present the AQI increases, and the National Weather Service (NWS) issues a corresponding air quality alert. Those alerts and their corresponding behavioral modification recommendations for particle pollution can be found at https://www.airnow.gov.2

Consistent with this information, the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports offers the following general guidance to member institutions trying to make decisions about the appropriateness of practice or competition in degrading air quality situations:

  • Attentive monitoring of local AQI and associated air quality alerts, especially during times of extreme environmental conditions, is recommended. This monitoring is best performed by the primary athletics healthcare providers trained to monitor environmental impacts on student-athlete health and safety. However, schools may choose to delegate this responsibility to another staff member with knowledge and training about environmental monitoring.
  • Member schools should consider shortening or canceling outdoor athletic events (practices and competitions) in accordance with AQI guidance. Exposure should be managed more conservatively for student-athletes with pre-existing pulmonary or cardiac conditions, which may exacerbate the complications of these conditions and lead to an acute medical emergency. Specifically, at an AQI of 100 or higher, schools should consider removing sensitive athletes from outdoor practice or competition venues and should closely monitor all athletes for respiratory difficulty.2 Reduce heavy or prolonged exertion in sensitive individuals.
  • At AQIs of over 150, outdoor activities should be shortened, and exertion should be minimized by decreasing the intensity of activity. Sensitive athletes should be moved indoors.2
  • At AQIs of 200 or above, serious consideration should be given to rescheduling the activity or moving it indoors. Prolonged exposure and heavy exertion should be avoided.2 Avoid all outdoor physical activity for sensitive individuals .
  • At AQIs of 300 or above, outdoor activities should be moved indoors or canceled if indoor activity is not an option.2
  • School emergency action plans should guide the emergency care response in these circumstances, and staff should rehearse the plan at a minimum of once a year.

References

1. Carlisle AJ, Sharp NC. Exercise and outdoor ambient air pollution. Br J Sports Med. 2001;35(4):214-222.

2. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Air quality guide for particle pollution. 2016; https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=pubs.aqguidepart. Accessed July 18, 2018.

NCAA Board of Governors Policy on Campus Sexual Violence FAQ

When did the policy begin?

The policy was effective immediately after the NCAA Board of Governors adopted it in August 2017. The first deadline for schools to attest that the requirements have been met was May 15, 2018. The Board of Governors amended the policy in August 2018 and April 2020. The most recent amendments are effective in the 2022-23 academic year.

The annual attestation period runs from March 1 – May 15 each year.

What is the deadline for completing the annual education for coaches, student-athletes and athletics staff?

Annual education should be completed during the applicable academic year to allow presidents or chancellors, athletics directors and campus Title IX coordinators to attest in spring of that academic year. For example, for the 2020-21 academic year, education should be completed prior to the May 15, 2021 deadline so that presidents or chancellors, athletics directors and campus Title IX coordinators can attest to their compliance by the May 15 deadline.

What is the 2021 deadline for presidents or chancellors, athletics directors and campus Title IX coordinators to attest that the education has occurred on campus?

May 15, 2021. The attestation form will be available electronically in the NCAA Learning Portal and on ncaa.org/csvpolicy beginning March 1, 2021 and must be completed by May 15, 2021. This is a firm deadline.

The NCAA Learning Portal may be accessed through ncaa.org/MyApps.

How do I upload my completed form?

Each school’s director of athletics must upload the final form in the NCAA Learning portal. They should: 

  1. Go to ncaa.org/MyApps and select NCAA Learning Portal.
  2. Click My Courses and launch the 2020-2021 Sexual Violence Prevention Attestation.
    Note: this course is automatically assigned to each director of athletics only.
  3. Watch the module video.
  4. Follow the directions at the end of the video to upload your completed form in the module by May 15.

You will receive a confirmation email after the form is successfully uploaded. NCAA Staff may also contact you if there are any issues with your form submission.

What type of education meets the expectations of the policy?

The policy allows member schools to determine the types and manner of education provided. The NCAA Sexual Violence Prevention Tool Kit can assist member schools in this effort. The tool kit provides checklists for campus collaboration and educational resources created specifically for student-athletes. Those resources include the online curriculum myPlaybook, which includes a course on sexual violence prevention.

What happens after the deadline?

A list of schools that have and have not attested to the requirements of the policy will be presented in a report to the Board of Governors at their August meeting each year. Once approved, the lists will be published on ncaa.org. Once approved, the lists will be published on ncaa.org.

Which athletics staff members are expected to complete the education requirement?

While the policy does not provide a specific definition of staff for purposes of the educational prong and provides institutions the discretion to determine how far to extend their educational efforts (e.g. whether to include temporary workers, consultants or contractors), there is an expectation that all education will meet the requirements of local, state and federal law. All coaches including part-time, volunteer and assistant coaches, as well as athletics administrators full-time and temporary, and participating student-athletes are expected to complete the education.

My school already completed an attestation in the fall, why do we have to do this as well?

The fall attestation of compliance is a different requirement than the Board of Governors policy on campus sexual violence. If you believe your school has already attested to the policy for the current academic year, you may contact questions@ncaa.org to confirm.

If I have additional questions about the policy where should I go?

Questions about the policy or attestation process may be sent to questions@ncaa.org. This inbox will only answer questions related to the policy and attestation process.

If I have technical questions where should I go?

Questions about the NCAA Learning Portal may be sent to lmshelp@ncaa.org.

Substance Abuse Prevention Tool Kit

Developed in collaboration with athletics stakeholders and campus substance abuse prevention experts, the Substance Abuse Prevention Tool Kit provides recommended approaches and evidence-based resources for athletics administrators to address alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse. The tool kit includes checklists and strategies, guided by the latest prevention science and deterrence strategies, that support collaboration with campus colleagues and promote healthy choices, fair competition and a positive environment for college athletes.

Download the Substance Abuse Prevention Tool Kit.

Athletics Health Care Administrator Resource Center

The athletics health care administrator is a designated position, mandated by NCAA Independent Medical Care legislation (Division I Constitution 3.2.4.16, Division II 3.3.4.17, Division III 3.2.4.18). The legislation requires each NCAA member school to identify an athletics health care administrator as part of a broader obligation to establish a structure that supports the delivery of independent medical care for college athletes. It is recommended that athletics health care administrators be aware of, share and monitor NCAA health and safety-related legislation, interassociation recommendations and resources.

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