Rules/Laws sideline

Some athletic governing bodies have created mandates on concussion management for athletes who play in their organization. Listed is a sampling of the mandates that have been initiated to protect the athletes.

National Football League (NFL) Mandate:

When diagnosed with a concussion, athlete must be removed from game or practice, and must be cleared before return to action by the team physician and an independent physician.

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA):

"Institutions shall have a concussion management plan on file such that a student-athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed from practice or competition and evaluated by an athletics healthcare provider with experience in the evaluation and management of concussions. Student-athletes diagnosed with a concussion shall not return to activity for the remainder of that day. Medical clearance shall be determined by the team physician or his or her designee according to the concussion management plan." - 2010-2011 NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook

The National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Mandate:

"Effective with the 2010 season, any player who shows signs, symptoms, or behaviors associated with a concussion must be removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate healthcare professional."

State of Indiana Concussion Law: Student Athletes: Concussions and Head Injuries

A player suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game shall be removed from play at the time of injury and may not return to play until the student athlete has been evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries. The athlete must receive written clearance to return to play from the health care provider.


Forms and information regarding this law can be found on the Indiana Department of Education Learning Connection, under the community entitled "IDOE - Concussion and Head Injury in Student Athletes".

This law only pertains to students in grades 9-12 who are participating in interscholastic or intramural sport. It is recommended that any student be removed from play and evaluated by a licensed health care provider whether they fall under the specific guidelines of this law or not.

In order for a person to be able to sign a written clearance for the athlete to return to play after a suspected concussion, the person must meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. Must have a license given by a governmental agency that regulates a specific profession.
  2. Must be listed in Indiana Code as a health care provider.
  3. Must have training in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries.

A health care professional works under the care of a health care provider. Because a professional does not meet the criteria for the definition as a licensed health care provider, they are not allowed to write written clearance for a student athlete to return to play following a concussion.

Concussion Management Guidelines

The ISCN directors have created guidelines for the appropriate treatment of concussions that are considered to be the gold standard in concussion care. Those guidelines can be found here.


Preseason Concussion Assessment

The Preseason Concussion Assessment is a test that is useful to gain a baseline assessment of various brain functions that may be affected should an athlete suffer a head injury. This test should be done prior to begining athletic activity each new season. The test assesses memory, concentration, orientation and balance.


Concussion Management Video

Below is a four-part educational video about concussions and concussion management. The presentation is directed toward athletes, parents, coaches, athletic directors, school nurses, and all health care professionals who may come in contact and treat these student-athletes who are suspected of having a head injury. The videos also explain the new state law that has gone into effect.

Please double click the video to open in new window in order to view.


Part 1

Part 2


Part 3

Part 4

Media Articles on Concussions

No Perfect Helmet

CDC: Heads Up

Nathan Stiles Story

ESPN Outside the Lines - Second Impact Syndrome

Standardized Concussion Tests for NFL

ESPN Outside the Lines - Heading for Trouble

Jaquan Waller's Story

Testing Helps Change the Game on Youth Concussions **New**

Athletes of All Sports at Risk of Dangerous Concussions **New**


Research Articles on Concussions

Brain Function Decline in Healthy Retired Athletes who Sustained their Last Sports Concussion in Early Adulthood

Concussion in Sports: Postconcussive Activity Levels, Symptoms, and Neurocognitive Performance

Sex Differences in Concussion Symptoms of High School Athletes

Supporting the Student-Athlete's Return to the Classroom After a Sports-Related Concussion

Return-to-Play Criteria After Athletic Concussion

Effects of a Symptom-Free Waiting Period on Clinical Outcome and Risk of Reinjury After Sports-Related Concussion

Investigating Baseline Neurocognitive Performance Between Male and Female Athletes with a History of Multiple Concussion

The Effect of Sports Concussion on Neurocognitive Function, Self-Report Symptoms and Postural Control

Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport: The 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport Held in Zurich, November 2012

The Role of Concussion History and Gender in Recovery From Soccer-Related Concussion

Recurrent Concussion and Risk of Depression in Retired Professional Football Players


Organization Position Statements on Concussions

IHSAA Concussion Position Statement

NCAA Medical Policy and Procedure Manual 2010-2011

NATA - Management of Sport Related Concussions


Links to Find Additional Information

National Athletic Trainers' Association


CDC "Heads Up"

ISCN Facebook Group


NCAA Concussion Fact Sheet


Promoting awareness and proper management of sports related concussions.



Baseline tests provided by a donation from the Indianapolis Colts.






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