The release of the upcoming film “Concussion” has generated an increased awareness in the public and media of the important issue of player safety in contact sports, particularly football. The FHSAA and its member schools place the highest priority on the health and safety of the student athletes competing in the state of Florida. This is not a new issue for the FHSAA; for the past ten years the FHSAA and our partners at the National Federation of High School Associations have worked to minimize risk in all sports.
In 2012 the FHSAA was one of the first five state high school associations in the U.S. to adopt a comprehensive concussion protocol and return to play policy (Policy 40). The details of Policy 40 can be found in the FHSAA handbook on FHSAA.org and a copy of the policy is attached to this statement. This set of removal from competition and return to play guidelines is regularly reviewed and updated as new information is received. In addition, we require every student-athlete and every coach to view the 30 minute video, developed by the National Federation of High Schools, on the education, awareness and treatment of sustained concussions prior to any participation in a high school sport.
To ensure that our member schools have the latest information, we are in regular communication with equipment manufacturers, industry related associations and other league organizers about advances in product testing, guidelines, and certifications. Additionally, our Sports Medicine Advisory Council, comprised mostly of medical doctors throughout the state, proactively seeks the latest data to share with the FHSAA member school Board of Directors. Earlier this year, we shared the results of the NFL Football Helmet Testing Study with our member schools so that they have the current scientific research, enabling them to make the most informed decisions possible on behalf of their student athletes.
With the combination of risk minimization efforts including concussion protocols, reducing contact in practices, and continuing education efforts, we believe contact sports, and football in particular, are safe for Florida student athletes. The FHSAA will continue to monitor the situation and provide useful information to our member schools and the student-athletes.
About the FHSAA
The Florida High School Athletic Association supervises and regulates interscholastic athletic programs for high school students at member public, private and charter schools. The organization also recognizes and honors academic achievement among student-athletes at almost 800 middle, junior and senior high schools statewide. Headquartered in Gainesville, it is the official governing body for interscholastic athletics in Florida.