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Head injury and concussion information for schools, school staff, coaches, athletic trainers, and volunteers

Regulatory guidance to schools, required forms, and required trainings

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. In school aged children, many of these brain injuries can occur during a sports practice or event.

Since 2011, Massachusetts has required public schools and schools affiliated with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) to develop an interscholastic head injury safety program for grades 6-12 if they have extracurricular athletic activities. These head injury safety programs must include standardized procedures for concussion management and return to play plans for students who sustain head injuries during extracurricular athletic activities. By having concussion policies and procedures in place, schools can prevent further injury or even death from a concussion, and protect the health and safety of their students.

Table of Contents

Regulations on head injuries and concussions in extracurricular activities

The regulations known as Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Athletic Activities provide guidance to school administrators, athletic directors, coaches, certified athletic trainers, medical providers, school nurses, parents and students on their roles in implementing sports concussion management programs in their schools. Please follow the link below to read the full regulations:

Required yearly reporting for schools

Year end reporting form

The Year End Reporting Form for Schools is required for all public schools and other schools subject to the rules of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) with extracurricular athletic activities for grades 6-12. This form is required to be submitted to the Department of Public Health annually by August 31.

The Year End Reporting Form for Schools submission period for 2019-2020 has been closed. Information for the 2020-2021 Year End Report Form will be coming soon.

Letter of affirmation

The school or school district shall provide the Department of Public Health with an affirmation on school or school district letterhead that it has reviewed and updated its policies in accordance with the regulations by September 30th, every two years on the odd numbered year for review or revision of its policies.

Information for the 2021 Letters of Affirmation will be coming soon.

Required forms for schools with extracurricular sports activities

The Pre-participation form must be filled out by the student and parent prior to the beginning of every sports season and reviewed by the coach and school nurse to ensure that it is safe for the student to play in school sports.

The Report of Head Injury Form should be filled out when a student has had a suspected head injury during or outside of extracurricular athletic activities.

The Post Sports-Related Head Injury Medical Clearance and Authorization Form should be filled out by a medical provider authorized to allow a student diagnosed with a concussion to begin a graduated return to play protocol, or to clear them for full participation in athletic activities.

You can also download Arabic, French, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese translations of each form.

DPH approved annual trainings

Technical assistance

The Department can provide guidance and recommendations to schools on their concussion policies as well as educational materials and resources to support the health of school communities. School staff can contact ConcussionPolicies@State.MA.US or (617) 624-5490 for more information.

Additional materials: Guidance for schools

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