Good news on the concussion safety front today from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee and the NFHS Board of Directors. Among the four rule changes it approved for the 2010-2011 season was one requiring that wrestlers showing signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion be removed immediately from the match and not allowed to return to competition until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.
The new rule is a good one for four reasons.
First, since the vast majority of concussions do not include a loss of consciousness, it jettisons the outdated rule that only required a wrestler to be removed from a contest if he was "apparently unconscious."
Second, it continues to empower referees to remove athletes from competition if they exhibits signs of concussion, which is something I have been advocating for years that football referees be allowed to do.
Third, while the old rule required return-to-play clearance from a medical doctor, the new rule allows a wrestler to return to play after being cleared by "an appropriate health care professional," including, presumably a certified athletic trainer, who play a key role in concussion evaluation and management.
Fourth, the new concussion language is being placed in all NFHS rules books for the 2010-11 season, as well as the "NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion."