New Law Requires All Maine High Schools to Implement Model Concussion Management Program

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Dr. William Heinz, a sports medicine and concussion expert at OA Centers for Orthopaedics, explains that the new Maine law requires high school athletic directors, coaches and other staff to undergo training in the identification and management of concussive and other head injuries. The law also requires written consent from parents acknowledging the fact that student athletes suspected of sustaining a head injury will not be allowed to return to athletics until they have been examined and cleared by a licensed healthcare provider.

This law is a move in the right direction for student athletes, but as an unfunded mandate, schools are going to have to figure out how to implement the program on their own.

Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI) provides resources for administrators, coaches and staff

This past May, in the wake of Junior Seau’s tragic post-concussion suicide, the state of Maine enacted an unheralded but significant new law requiring all Maine high schools to implement a model concussion management program for student athletes. The law requires high school athletic directors, coaches and other staff to undergo training in the identification and management of concussive and other head injuries. The law also requires written consent from parents acknowledging the fact that student athletes suspected of sustaining a head injury will not be allowed to return to athletics until they have been examined and cleared by a licensed healthcare provider.

“This law is a move in the right direction for student athletes,” said Dr. William Heinz, Sports Medicine Physician and Concussion Management Expert at OA Center for Orthopaedics. “But as an unfunded mandate, schools are going to have to figure out how to implement the program on their own. The good news it that the Maine Concussion Management Institute (MCMI) provides a number of significant resources that can help schools meet their education and training requirements.”

Founded in 2009, MCMI’s primary goal is to educate coaches, parents, trainers and students about concussions and to increase awareness about the seriousness of these injuries. One of the services provided to schools is neurocognitive testing, an objective measure for determining both the nature and extent of an athlete’s concussion. The ImPACT neurocognitive test used by MCMI establishes baseline brain at a time when the athlete is free of concussion. Then, if a concussion is sustained during the season, the athlete is tested on ImPACT to determine the extent of impairment and when it is safe to return to activities. As such the testing protocols offered by MCMI meet the guidelines of the new Maine law by providing objective criteria by which to allow student athletes to return to sport.

MCMI currently provides ImPACT testing to more than 70 Maine schools with the goal of bringing additional schools into the program as part of the new state mandate. In addition to neurocognitive testing, MCMI also provides conferences and symposiums on concussion management throughout the year. Upcoming events include a concussion education program at Carrabassett Valley Academy at the end of August, and a conference for medical professionals on October 23, 2012 at Maine Medical Center. For more information, visit http://www.colby.edu/academics_cs/goldfarb/mcm/index.cfm.

About OA Centers for Orthopaedics
Founded in 1982, OA Centers for Orthopaedics is the premier orthopedic practice in Maine and one of the country’s leading innovators in orthopedics. OA’s 16 surgeons and physicians are highly specialized in areas such as sports medicine; hand surgery; foot and ankle surgery; medical and surgical treatment of the spine; joint reconstruction of the hip, knee and shoulder; and fracture treatment. OA performs more orthopedic procedures than any other practice in Maine, and some of the most sophisticated procedures in the nation. OA’s outpatient surgery center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). OA has been cited by the national Ambulatory Surgery Center Association as a “world class center.”

Headquartered in Portland, Maine, OA has satellite offices in Windham, Brunswick and Saco. OA—Experience in motion.

For more information, please visit http://www.orthoassociates.com.

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Ted Darling
Ethos
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