CONCUSSION AWARENESS AND SAFETY RECOGNITION POLICY

CONCUSSION AWARENESS AND SAFETY RECOGNITION POLICY

Objective
It is Special Olympics’ intent to take steps to help ensure the health and safety of all Special Olympics participants.   All Special Olympics participants should remember that safety comes first and should take reasonable steps to help minimize the risks for concussion or other serious brain injuries.

Defining a Concussion
A concussion is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head as well as serial, cumulative hits to the head. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth—causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull. Although concussions are usually not life-threatening, their effects can be serious and therefore proper attention must be paid to individuals suspected of sustaining a concussion.

Suspected or Confirmed Concussion
Effective January 1, 2015, a participant who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice, game or competition shall be removed from practice, play or competition at that time. If a qualified medical professional is available on-site to render an evaluation, that person shall have final authority as to whether or not a concussion is suspected. If applicable, the participant’s parent or guardian should be made aware that the participant is suspected of sustaining a concussion.  When in doubt, sit them out”.

Return to Play 
A participant who has been removed from practice, play or competition due to a suspected concussion may not participate in Special Olympics sports activities until either of the following occurs:

1)    At least seven (7) consecutive days have passed since the participant was removed from play and a
currently licensed, qualified medical professional provides written clearance for the participant to return to
practice, play and competition.

2)    A currently licensed, qualified medical professional determines that the participant did not suffer a
concussion and provides written clearance for the participant to return to practice play immediately.

3)    Written clearance in either of the scenarios above shall become a permanent record.
a.  This includes Unified Partners
b.  The athlete cannot return to practice without written clearance.  This carries over into new sports.
Once the athlete and/or Partner is pulled from practice, they cannot return without clearance
even if they stay out for an entire year.

Required Training and Timeline
All Coaches are required to complete one of the following concussion awareness training courses:  
1)    The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Heads-Up Concussion in Youth Sports training course, which is
available at:    http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html

2)    National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHSA) Concussion in Sports training course which is
       available at:  https://nfhslearn.com/courses/38000

Certificate of Completion must be submitted to the SONM Chapter Office.

Both, the CDC and NFHSA courses are very similar and both work off of the “Heads Up” program.  The CDC course is more user friendly but will not save your certificate for future access.  You must create an account on the NFHSA website to access the course material so accessing the information on this website is more involved.  As you proceed, it seems that you will be charged for the course but when you proceed to finalize, the course cost is $0.00. The advantage of taking the course offered by the NFHSA website is that you will create an account and you will be able to access your certificate whenever you might need it while the CDC website will not save your certificate. Both Courses can be accessed at no cost and both will take about 25 to 30 minutes to complete.

SONM cannot accept the paper quiz available on the CDC website as proof of course completion.  You must submit the certificate that is printable at the conclusion of both the CDC and NFHSA course.  It is recommended that you save the certificate as a PDF file once you have completed the CDC Course.  The NFHSA course allows you to access your information after completion while the CDC does not.

Procededure for submitting your certificate
All coaches and those Unified Partners who also possess a sport specific certification must print the course completion certificate and:
1.   Mail a copy to: Special Olympics New Mexico
Sports Department
6600 Palomas NE, Suite 207
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109
2.   Fax a copy to (505) 856-0346
3.   Print a PDF file and email to chrispage@sonm.org (Prefered Method)
4.   Always remember to keep a copy for your records

Frequency of Training
Concussion awareness training must be completed by all Coaches at least once every three years.