Sports Health Concern

Concussions l Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention 


When a student is injured during a school-sponsored activity, or outside of school, and symptoms of concussion are present the following procedure is to be followed.

  1. In school or at a school-sponsored event the student is immediately removed from the activity, and may not return until medically cleared to do so.
  2. The coach or other responsible adults will notify the parent immediately and request that they have their child assessed by their private healthcare provider.
  3. The coach or other responsible adults will fill out the Student Incident Report within 24 hours and forward it to the proper office.
  4. If the student is injured outside of school it is expected that the parent will inform the school nurse/athletic trainer in their child’s building of the injury, the school nurse/athletic trainer will provide the parent/guardian with the “Post-Concussion Forms” to be completed by the child’s private health care professional. The school nurse/athletic trainer will also complete a concussion evaluation if one has not already been completed.
  5. Whether injured at school or off school grounds the school nurse/athletic trainer will provide the parent/guardian with concussion management information.
  6. In order for the student diagnosed with a concussion to return to physical education and/or athletics they must be medically cleared. Where the concussion occurred (i.e. during school sports, outside of school, etc.) will determine what medical provider the student needs to be cleared by (i.e. physician, NP, PA).
    a. Once medical clearance is obtained the student may be required to complete a return-to-play progression. All students participating in sports at the time of their concussion or clearance from a concussion are required to complete the return to play protocol. For all other students, the district will follow the orders of their healthcare provider. If at any time during the return to play progression, the student experiences a reoccurrence or exacerbation of symptoms, activity is to be stopped for a period of 24 hours. If the student is symptom-free for 24 hours they may begin the return to play a progression at the previous step during which symptoms were experienced. If they are not symptom-free after 24 hours they are to be referred back to their private health care provider.
    b. The return to play progression is a four-step process and takes a minimum of 4 days to complete.

These protocols will be followed by all Valley Central School District health care professionals (School Nurse, Athletic Trainer, and School Physician), coaches, and teachers who are responsible. As always, please contact your school nurse or athletic trainer should you have any questions.

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Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act

The Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act is a new law as of July 1, 2022. This law requires schools, students, and parents/guardians have information on sudden cardiac arrest risks, signs, and symptoms. Please note that sudden cardiac arrest in children and youth is rare. The incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD) on the playing field is 0.61 in 100,000. 1

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is an emergency that happens when the heart suddenly stops working. SCA can cause death if not treated immediately, and even with treatment death may occur. Immediate treatment is cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

All public schools must have a staff member trained in the use of
CPR and AED in school and at all school athletic events. Preventing SCA before it happens is the best way to save a life 1 . Both your family health
history and your child’s personal history must be told to healthcare providers to help them know if your child is at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Ask your child if they are having any of the symptoms listed below and tell a healthcare provider. Know your family history and tell a healthcare provider of any risk factors listed below.

The signs or symptoms are:

  • Fainting or seizure, especially during or right after exercise or with excitement or startled
  • Racing heart, palpitations, or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or extreme fatigue with exercise
  • Chest pain or discomfort with exercise
  • Excessive shortness of breath during exercise
  • Excessive, unexpected fatigue during or after exercise

Student’s Personal Risk Factors are:

Student’s Family History Risk Factors are:

  •  Family history of known heart abnormalities or sudden death before 50 years
    of age
  • Family members with unexplained fainting, seizures, drowning, near
    drowning or car accidents before 50 years of age
  • Structural heart abnormality, repaired or unrepaired
  • Any relative diagnosed with the following conditions:
    • Enlarged Heart
    • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
    • Dilated Cardiomyopathy
    • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy
    • Heart rhythm problems, long or short QT interval
    • Brugada Syndrome
    • Catecholaminergic Ventricular Tachycardia
    • Marfan Syndrome- aortic rupture
    • Heart attack at 50 years or younger
    • Pacemaker or implanted cardiac defibrillator (ICD)

SCA in students at risk can be triggered by athletic activities. To decrease any chance of SCA in a student, the Interval Health History for Athletics must be completed and signed by a parent/guardian before each sports season unless a physical examination has been conducted within 30 days before the start of the season. This form has questions to help identify changes since the last physical examination or health history was completed. School personnel may require a student with health or history changes to see a healthcare provider
before participating in athletics.

Finally, the law requires any student who has signs and symptoms of pending SCA be removed from athletic activity until seen by a physician. The physician must provide written clearance to the school for the student to be able to return to athletics.

Please contact the State Education Department’s Office of Student Support Services for questions or call (518) 486-6090.

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