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Tag Archive | "Michigan High School Athletic Association"

MHSAA announces concussion report findings


2016-17 school year

The Michigan High School Athletic Association has completed its second year of collecting head injury reports from member schools and continues to build data that will assist in identifying trends and progress being made to reduce the incidence of head injuries in school sports.

Following a first mandate to do so in 2015-16, member schools again were required to report head injuries to the MHSAA identifying the sport that each student-athlete was participating in and whether the injury was sustained during practice or competition. As reporting for the 2017-18 school year is now underway, schools again are required to designate if potential concussions occur during competition or practice and at which level—varsity, junior varsity or freshman.

The full report of all head injuries experienced during 2016-17 by student-athletes at MHSAA member high schools—including percentages by sport (per 1,000 participants), gender and team level, as well as data tracking when athletes returned to play—is available on the Health & Safety page of the MHSAA Website at https://www.mhsaa.com/portals/0/Documents/health%20safety/concussionreport1617.pdf.

As with the first year of reporting, the MHSAA received data from more than 99 percent of its member high schools after the fall, winter and spring seasons and continued to track each injury report through its conclusion this summer. Member junior high and middle schools also were allowed, although not mandated, to report their potential head injuries; and those findings are not part of the published report.

The 2016-17 concussion report found an 11-percent decrease in the number of confirmed concussions from the previous year. Student-athletes at MHSAA member high schools encountered during 2016-17 a total of 3,958 head injuries—or 5.2 per member school, similar but lower than the 2015-16 average of 5.9. Total participation in MHSAA sports for 2016-17 was 283,625, with students counted once for each sport he or she played and only 1.4 percent of participants experienced a head injury; that percentage in 2015-16 was 1.6.

Although the total number of confirmed concussions was significantly lower in 2016-17, a number of findings detailing those injuries fell in line with results of the 2015-16 survey.

Boys experienced 2,607—or 66 percent—of those injuries, nearly the same ratio as 2015-16 and as boys participation in sports, especially contact sports, remained higher than girls. More than half of head injuries—55 percent—were experienced by varsity athletes, which also fell within a percent difference of last year’s findings.

A total of 2,973 head injuries—or 65 percent—came in competition as opposed to practice. More than half took place during either the middle of practice or middle of competition as opposed to the start or end, and 52 percent of injuries were a result of person-to-person contact. The largest percentage of athletes—27 percent—returned to activity after 6 to 10 days, while 23 percent of those who suffered head injuries returned after 11-15 days of rest. All of these findings were within 1-4 percent of those discovered from the 2015-16 data.

Contact sports again revealed the most head injuries. Ranking first was football, 11 and 8-player combined, with 44 head injuries per 1,000 participants—a decrease of five head injuries per 1,000 participants from 2015-16. Ice hockey repeated with the second-most injuries per 1,000, with 36 (down two injuries per 1,000 from 2015-16), and girls soccer was again third with 28 head injuries per 1,000 participants (also down two from the previous year).

In fact, after football and hockey, the next four sports to show the highest incidences of head injuries were girls sports—girls soccer followed by girls basketball (23 per 1,000), girls competitive cheer (22) and girls lacrosse (20). Although girls basketball moved up from fifth to fourth for highest ratio, it did see a decline of six injuries per 1,000 participants from 2015-16.

Startling indications of another potential trend were seen again in the number of reported head injuries suffered by girls and boys playing the same sports. Soccer, basketball and baseball/softball are played under identical or nearly identical rules. Just as in 2015-16, females in those sports reported significantly more concussions than males playing the same or similar sport.

Female soccer players reported double the concussions per 1,000 participants as male soccer players, while female basketball players reported nearly triple the number of concussions per 1,000 participants (23 to 8). Softball players reported 11 concussions per 1,000 participants, and baseball players reported four per 1,000. The numbers from all three comparisons remained consistent from what the survey found in 2015-16.

It is the hope that Michigan’s universities, health care systems and the National Federation of State High School Associations will take part in analyzing the data and questions that have arisen during the past two years. Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports submitted a paper titled “Gender Differences in Youth Sports Concussion” based on the 2015-16 results, and that subject will remain closely monitored in 2017-18 and beyond.

“The Institute’s research concluded that there is merit for believing females may be more susceptible than males to having concussions because of structural differences to the neck and head, and also due to neurological differences in the brains of females and males. But the findings also show merit for believing females may be more honest in reporting concussions,” said MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts.

“We need to find out why. Are girls just more willing to report the injury? Are boys hiding it? These are some of our most important questions moving forward, and they will be critical in our efforts to educate athletes, their parents and coaches on the importance of reporting and receiving care for these injuries immediately.”

Roberts said that while it’s significant to note the similarity in statistics over the first two years of injury report collection, the lower percentages in 2016-17 don’t necessarily represent a trend; that conclusion can only be made after more data is collected in years to come. Some differences in data from the first year to the second could be the result of schools’ increased familiarity with the reporting system, the refinement of the follow-up reporting procedure and other survey error that is expected to decrease with future surveys.

“Our first survey in 2015-16 raised some initial themes, and the data we collected this past year and will continue to collect will help us identify the trends that will guide our next steps in reducing head injuries in interscholastic athletics,” Roberts said. “However, the necessity for more data to determine these trends should not delay our efforts to experiment with more head protection and modified play and practice rules in contact sports like ice hockey, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse, which all ranked among the top 10 sports for numbers of head injuries per thousand participants.

“We will continue to look for ways to make our good games better and our healthy games safer, and the collection of this data will continue to prove key as we work toward those goals.”

Schools report possible concussions online via the MHSAA Website. Reports are then examined by members of the MHSAA staff, who follow up with school administrators as those student-athletes continue to receive care and eventually return to play. Student privacy is protected.

The reporting of possible concussions is part of a three-pronged advance by the MHSAA in concussion care begun during the 2015-16 school year. The MHSAA completed this past spring (2017) the largest-ever state high school association sideline concussion testing pilot program, with a sample of schools from across the state over the last two years using one of two screening tests designed to detect concussions. The second year of the pilot program (2016-17) allowed participating schools to use the sideline detection tests in all sports but mandated they be used in sports (11 total over three seasons) showing the highest prevalence of concussions.

The MHSAA also was the first state association to provide all participants at every member high school and junior high/middle school with insurance intended to pay accident medical expense benefits—covering deductibles and co-pays left unpaid by other policies—resulting from head injuries sustained during school practices or competitions and at no cost to either schools or families. During 2016-17, a total of 139 claims were made—20 fewer than in 2015-16—with  football (44) and girls basketball (27) the sports most cited in those claims for the second straight year.

Previously, the MHSAA also was among the first state associations to adopt a return-to-play protocol that keeps an athlete out of activity until at least the next day after a suspected concussion, and allows that athlete to return to play only after he or she has been cleared unconditionally for activity by a doctor (M.D. or D.O.), physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner.

In addition, the MHSAA’s Coaches Advancement Program, which includes courses that must be completed by all varsity head coaches hired for the first time at a member school, has augmented for this fall its already substantial instruction on concussion care. Separately, rules meetings that are required viewing for all varsity and subvarsity head and assistant coaches at the start of each season include detailed training on caring for athletes with possible head injuries.

 

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Clipping clipped as 2016-17 high school sports year begins


 

By John Johnson, MHSAA

 

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Clipping has been eliminated in high school football, the biggest playing rules change on the horizon for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which formally begin practice for 2016-17 fall sports next week.

Practice in football must begin on Aug. 8 for all schools wishing to begin regular-season games the weekend of Aug. 25-27. Schools must have 12 days of preseason practice at all levels before their first game, and those 12 days of practice may not occur before 16 calendar days.

Practice sessions for all other sports begin Wednesday (Aug. 10). In golf and tennis, competition may commence no earlier than after three separate days of team practice, and not before seven calendar days. The first day competition may take place in golf and tennis is Aug. 17. In all other fall sports, contests can take place after seven days of practice for the team and not before nine calendar days. The first day competition may take place in cross country, tennis, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball is Aug. 19.

This fall, two football dates again precede Labor Day, and a number of MHSAA schools will play their first varsity games on Thursday, Aug. 25. In Week 1, 131 varsity games will be played on Thursday, 169 contests will be played on Friday, and 17 games will be played on Saturday. In the second week, 245 games will take place on Thursday, 62 will be played on Friday and 6 contests are on Saturday.

Eliminating clipping from the high school game is the latest step in the national playing rules promulgated by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Clipping previously was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

A few notable changes will go into effect for other fall sports:

•  In cross country, a participant who assists an injured or ill competitor when the appropriate health care professional is not available no longer will be disqualified from the race; only the runner receiving assistance will be disqualified for not finishing the race unassisted.

•  In soccer, changes were made to the offside rule that makes it match offside rules for the NCAA and FIFA/USSF. The most notable change states that a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save) is not considered to have gained an advantage and can move ahead toward attempting to score a goal. A player who does receive the ball while in offside position after a deliberate save remains offside, and the result is an indirect kick for the defending team.

•  Also in soccer, eliminating of rough play will be a point of emphasis this school year. Rough play including contact above the shoulder often results in player injury.

•  In volleyball, a change to rules on uniforms aims to make the libero more recognizable from all angles. Beginning this fall, the libero, her teammates, or both will be required to wear a solid-colored uniform top; the libero’s top must clearly contract the predominant color(s) of her teammates’ uniform tops. Also related to the uniforms, soft hair devices, formerly no more than two inches in width, may now be up to three inches in width.

•  Also in volleyball, a service toss that contacts a basketball backboard or its supports in a vertical position over the serving area is a service fault and not eligible for a re-serve. The opponent receives a point and the next serve.

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Heat and hydration in hot weather


 

With the beginning of a new year for high school sports just a week away, members of the Michigan High School Athletic Association have been preparing to follow a new model policy for hot weather activity, guided by a new publication and a rules meeting emphasis on heat and hydration.

The MHSAA Representative Council adopted a Model Policy for Managing Heat & Humidity earlier this year, a plan many schools have since adopted at the local level. The plan directs schools to begin monitoring the heat index at the activity site once the air temperature reaches 80 degrees, and provides recommendations when the heat index reaches certain points, including ceasing activities when it rises above 104 degrees.

The model policy is outlined in a number of places, including a new publication called Heat Ways, which is available for download from the MHSAA Website.  Heat Ways not only provides the model policy, but addresses the need for proper acclimatization in hot weather.

The topic of heat-related injuries receives a lot of attention at this time of year, especially when deaths at the professional, collegiate and interscholastic levels of sport occur, and especially since they are preventable in most cases with the proper precautions. In football, data from the National Federation of State High School Associations shows that 41 high school players have died from heat stroke between 1995 and 2012.

In addition to the information now contained in Heat Ways, the Association is making dealing with heat, hydration and acclimatization the topic for its required pre-season rules meetings for coaches and officials. The 15-minute online presentation spends a fair amount of time talking about the need for good hydration in sports, regardless of the activity or time of year.

“We know now more than we ever have about when the risk is high and who is most at risk, and we’re fortunate to be able to communicate that information better than ever before to administrators, coaches, athletes and parent,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “Heat stroke is almost always preventable, and we encourage everyone to avail themselves of the information on our website.”

Roberts added that the first days of formal practices in hot weather should be more for heat acclimatization than the conditioning of athletes, and that practices in such conditions need planning to become longer and more strenuous over a gradual progression of time.

“Then, schools need to be vigilant about providing water during practices, making sure that youngsters are partaking of water and educating their teams about the need for good hydration practices away from the practice and competition fields,” Roberts said.

 

Excerpts from the new policy:

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS BELOW 95 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS 95 DEGREES TO 99 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Optional water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

Contact sports and activities with additional equipment: 

Helmets and other possible equipment removed while not involved in contact.

Reduce time of outside activity. Consider postponing practice to later in the day.

Recheck temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS ABOVE 99 DEGREES TO 104 DEGREES: 

All Sports 

Provide ample amounts of water. This means that water should always be available and athletes should be able to take in as much water as they desire.

Mandatory water breaks every 30 minutes for 10 minutes in duration.

Ice-down towels for cooling.

Watch/monitor athletes carefully for necessary action.

Alter uniform by removing items if possible.

Allow for changes to dry t-shirts and shorts.

Reduce time of outside activity as well as indoor activity if air conditioning is unavailable.

Postpone practice to later in the day.

Contact sports and activities with additional equipment: 

Helmets and other possible equipment removed if not involved in contact or necessary for safety. If necessary for safety, suspend activity.

Recheck temperature and humidity every 30 minutes to monitor for increased Heat Index.

IF THE HEAT INDEX IS ABOVE 104 DEGREES: 

All sports

Stop all outside activity in practice and/or play, and stop all inside activity if air conditioning is una-vailable.

Note: When the temperature is below 80 there is no combination of heat and humidity that will result in need to curtail activity.

 

 

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