You Asked, We Answered: Minimizing Athletic Risks Webinar Q&Abeing there // on Thursday September 21, 2017
In last week’s webinar, “Minimizing Athletic Risks: Protect Your Student Athletes and Your School,” Senior Risk Manager Brian Gleason dove into the ever-so-popular topics related to school-sponsored athletics and the risks associated with them. Below are questions – with answers – that were asked by our viewers during the webinar.
Q: Do helmets and other protective equipment prevent concussions?
A: Protective equipment does help as it will limit the impact; however, it often creates a sense of false security in athletes because they don’t feel the impact as much so they tend to hit harder and often end up with a more severe injury. So in the end, yes, protective equipment does limit the impact, but it will not always prevent a concussion from happening. The only true way to prevent concussions is to avoid impact altogether.
Q: How are concussions different in younger athletes?
A: Concussions in younger athletes can be harder to recognize because they don’t articulate as well what their symptoms are and might not communicate what they are feeling. Symptoms in younger athletes will also last longer than in older athletes, so they will need to be monitored longer. On the other side, older athletes will often try to “suck it up” and mislead the coach about their injury so that they don’t get taken out of the game.
Q: Are there specific concussion baseline tests that you would recommend?
A: There are many programs out there at varying price points that provide a wide variety of baseline testing options. Three that I would recommend are:
Q: Our school doesn’t have the resources for all of the things you recommended for concussion safety. What should we focus on?
A: A high-priority item would be getting baseline testing done so that you have something to compare to if an athlete does sustain a head injury. Another high-priority item that will cost you nothing is to put together a clearly written procedure that spells out that medical professionals are the only people who can release an athlete back into competition after a head injury. In addition to that, be sure to indicate that any athlete suspected of a head injury should be immediately pulled from competition and not be released back to play until they have passed medical clearance.
Q: Where does liability begin and end for a school with regard to transportation? For example, if practice doesn't begin until 5:30 p.m., and students take their own transportation home and then later to practice, is there any liability on the part of the school? What about driving themselves to an offsite practice facility?
A: In this type of situation, we would encourage you to consult with an attorney to clarify where liability lies. A general rule of thumb is that if you tell the student where the activity is and when they need to be there, but you do not arrange carpools or provide transportation, then the student is responsible and liable for their transportation. If you do arrange the carpool or provide transportation, then you are responsible and liable for the student. It is always a good idea to clearly outline transportation expectations prior to the season start at your parent meeting. In addition, if you will provide transportation but will give students the option to drive themselves, it is recommended that you have the student and parent sign a waiver stating that the student chooses to not take the provided transportation to help reduce liability.
Interested in learning more about this topic? A recording of the webinar is available here.
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