School Committee unveils draft of concussion policy
AMESBURY — A new concussion policy drafted for Amesbury schools to meet the requirements of 2010 state concussion law could affect more than just student athletes.
Marching band members, students going on field trips and the color guard will fall under the new policy, which requires testing for students and training for most staff members, coaches and even parent volunteers.
“This policy is not just for sports,” School Committee member Bonnie Schultz said. “It’s encompassing band, it’s encompassing field trips. Eventually, everyone will be covered under this concussion policy.”
The School Committee passed an interim version of the policy on Thursday. The state law passed last year requires all school districts to have a full policy in place by March 1.
The proposed policy’s reach is indicative of its size: 15 pages.
School Committee Vice Chairman Deb LaValley questioned the length of the policy, which lays out in steps record keeping, responsibilities for coaches and how a student goes about being involved in an activity after a concussion, among other items.
Gale Hanshaw, who chairs the School Committee’s policy subcommittee, said the team that drafted the policy used a template that was 10 pages and added on to be as thorough as possible.
“It mostly covers how to handle concussions but especially one of the bigger issues is reoccurring concussions and how and when to let the students go back in,” Hanshaw said.
Football, hockey and soccer players aren’t the only students who will be affected. All students who play sports and all students who take part in athletic outing, like ski trips, will be included.
“This policy and procedure specifically addresses sports-related head injuries occurring in extracurricular athletic activities but may be applied to all head injuries in students,” the policy states.
One of the ways students will be tested to see if they have a concussion is to provide a baseline test at the start of the year or before a season.
“Then when they have an injury, the score is compared to the baseline,” Schultz said. “Eventually we want to have everyone tested — that’s why it’s a huge undertaking.”