About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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State offers first look at concussion rules for high school athletes

The Virginia General Assembly said earlier this year that it wanted student-athletes in Virginia to be protected when they suffer concussions. Legislators passed a law that instructs the Virginia Board of Education to distribute to local school divisions, by July 1, a set of concussion guidelines.

Those guidelines, at least a draft version of them, arrived last week. They endorse much of the current thinking on concussions, especially in how concussions are diagnosed and treated when they happen to young athletes.

Some highlights:

*If an athlete is suspected of suffering a concussion, he or she must be immediately removed from the game or practice. A trained person must use one of the standard sideline assessment tools at the time of the injury to aid in diagnosis.

*The injured athlete can’t return to play that day, and not until he or she is symptom-free at rest, and symptom-free after participating in “supervised exercise that is gradually intensifying.”

*Before returning, the injured athlete also must have a written release from a licensed health care provider. The licensed provider can be a physician, physician assistant, osteopath, athletic trainer, neuropsychologist or nurse practitioner.

(For more on concussions and how local high schools and colleges are dealing with them, check back soon with this blog and the newspaper. Reporter Adam Himmelsbach and I are working on a story about concussions.)