Most N.C. High School Athletic Association football players won’t notice a difference in play this season as a result of the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Act, which was signed into North Carolina law this summer, but the football players and other middle school and high school athletes should be a little safer.
NCHSAA regulations already covered many of the provisions contained in the act for concussion management, but the act extends the requirements to middle school players as well.
Another key component of the act is education for players, parents, coaches, volunteers and first responders. The parent of every public high school and middle school athlete is required to sign a form verifying they received information on concussions.
All public high schools and middle schools also are now required to post an emergency action plan.
Twenty-seven states have concussion laws. Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said the North Carolina law is the most comprehensive.
“I’m enthusiastic about how receptive coaches, players and parents have been to the new policies to manage the injuries better,” Guskiewicz said in a release.
The Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC has a detailed description of the act, materials to help schools comply with the law and information about concussions at tbicenter.unc.edu.