The majority of colleges with a concussion management plan do not meet the standards of the existing National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Concussion Policy or recommendations, according to findings from a study.
In 2010, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) adopted its Concussion Policy and Bylaws. Investigators sent surveys to all 1,066 NCAA schools and 2,880 individuals asking population-specific questions about institutional concussion management. They received responses from 2,607 individuals from 907 unique schools.
Among the respondents, 92.7% reported their schools had a concussion management program, 1.1% reported their school did not have a program and 6.2% said they were unaware if their school had a management plan.
The researchers found that although most of the schools had a concussion management plan, certain areas were lacking compared with NCAA recommendations.
Most respondents said a team physician (83.4%) or an athletic trainer (72.8%) had the final decision on an athlete return to play (RTP) after a concussion. According to the NCAA’s policy, a “physician or physician’s designee” is responsible for the final decision about an athlete’s RTP after a concussion. It was notable that 6.8% and 6.6% of respondents believed coaches and athletes, respectively, could decide on return-to-play, according to the researchers.
Survey results also showed 76.1% of respondents stated their schools had a process for annual athlete concussion education, 92.1% indicated their schools had requirements of athletes to acknowledge their responsibility to report concussion symptoms and 98.8% felt their school’s concussion management plan protected student athletes “well” or “very well,” according to the researchers.
The researchers concluded that although the NCAA guidelines are a positive step toward improving athlete health, college concussion management plans must continue to improve. – by Robert Linnehan
Disclosure: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.