NCAA Power 5 Conferences Pass New Concussion ProtocolBy Russell Westerholm
With their increased autonomy to self-govern, the NCAA's Power 5 conferences passed a new policy concerning in-game concussion protocol.
The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC agreed to give school doctors the authority to hold a student-athlete out of a game if he or she has suffered a concussion, according to The Associated Press. While the policy extends to other injuries, concussions are on the minds of the football community across the country.
During its annual convention this year, the NCAA passed well-received policies concerning football championship game qualifications, the NBA Draft withdrawal date, and more. But the new concussion protocol might well be the most significant of them all.
"I believe it's the most important piece of legislation in the history of the NCAA," Brian Hainline, the NCAA's chief medical officer and a neurologist, told reporters at the convention. "It really defines who the primary athletics health care providers are."
The new policy goes beyond taking decisions regarding concussions out of the coaching staff's hands, but gives the doctors and training staff added protections, ESPN reported. Coaches will not be able to fire trainers, nor can they try to influence them to clear a student-athlete to play despite an injury.
Because the Power 5 conferences are the ones most often represented on nationally televised basketball and football games, the new policy could wind up a trend setter in collegiate athletics.
"There's a lot that's happened for student-athletes to improve their experiences, and that shouldn't be lost," USA Today quoted SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey saying at the convention. "We pushed those things more quickly (with autonomy) than they otherwise would have been produced. You have a less encumbered process that really facilitates some action. That doesn't mean every time we have a meeting it's going to be a session where we light fireworks at the end, but there is meaningful work being done, that has been done and I think that will be done."