The department posted a form on its website for schools to use in submitting their data and has asked the MIAA to help get the word out, said Smith.
Barry Haley, athletic director for Concord-Carlisle High School and a past president of the MIAA, said even though there was no deadline, he has compiled his data and will send it in soon. “I think there’s a lot of confusion,” he said, adding that many athletic directors aren’t around this time of year.
John DiBiaso, athletic director in Everett, said he thinks his staff already submitted data to the state. He also noted that the attention has prompted his high school to adopt what is known as ImPACT testing for the first time this school year for all incoming student athletes. Everett football players counted 12 head injuries last season.
“If there are further problems, we’ll know where they should be at, as opposed to just guessing where they should be at,” said DiBiaso.
Silva, the Marshfield athletic director, said he hopes that, in a year, the district will adopt a new policy to require ImPACT testing of all incoming freshmen, both athletes and nonathletes.
ImPACT is a computerized cognitive test that can be used to help evaluate when an athlete is ready to return to play after a head injury. More and more high schools around the state are using such testing, which is not required by the new law.
The new regulations require schools to provide annual training to students, parents, and staff on how to recognize and respond to head injuries. Also, they instruct injured students to return to play gradually, and only after medical clearance. The law is aimed at preventing repeated concussions, said Alan Ashare, chairman of the MIAA’s Sports Medicine Committee. So-called Second Impact Syndrome can occur when someone receives a second blow to the head before the first concussion has healed, a situation that can be life threatening.
“I think that injury data is useful because what we’d like to do is prevent injuries,” said Ashare, who is also chairman of the Massachusetts Medical Society’s Student Health and Sports Medicine Committee. “Data like this is interesting because it tells us something about how we coach, and the equipment that we use, and how we play.”
Lisa Kocian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.