In June of 2012, the SEC Presidents and Chancellors formed a “Working Group on Concussions,” charged with reviewing available research, evaluating diagnosis guidelines, identifying standards of care, and analyzing issues related to a student-athlete’s return to activity following a concussion. The Working Group represents a commitment by the Conference to put the health and safety of its student athletes at the forefront as a first priority.
Dr. Dan Jones, Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, a physician and Professor of Medicine, chaired the Group.
“There is much work to be done, and while the Conference has a role to play, prevention and treatment of concussion injuries is a national concern that needs and deserves a coordinated national effort,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive stated. “For this reason, the Presidents and Chancellors will make a formal request that the NCAA take the lead in organizing and spearheading a national research effort and examining possible revisions to playing rules in football and other sports.”
The Group’s objective was and is to help member institutions in their respective efforts to safeguard the health and welfare of student athletes. The Group gathered information about concussions, identifying best practices and standards of care, as well as provided information about such practices and standards to team physicians, trainers, athletic directors, and coaches of SEC member institutions.
The Group has consulted with Dr. Julian Bailes – Co Director, NorthShore Neurological Institute (University of Chicago School of Medicine), Dr. Brian Hainline – Chief Medical Officer of the NCAA, and Dana Marquez – Director of Equipment Operations, Auburn University.
“The NCAA’s decision to appoint Dr. Hainline as Medical Director is a significant step in a positive direction, and I hope and expect that the NCAA will take the lead in further development of standards and practices to protect the health and safety of our student athletes,” Slive added.
Over the past 12 months, The Group reviewed the Concussion Management plans of all SEC member institutions and conducted an extensive review of studies, practices, and literature on concussions. The Group’s review also included:
·All 14 SEC institutional Concussion Management Plans;
·NCAA documents regarding concussions, including information for coaches and student-athletes detailing concussion symptoms, prevention techniques, and post-concussion management;
·Fall 2012 NFL Health & Safety Report which includes details of the following five pillars of the NFL’s player health and safety program: Health and Safety Culture, Advocacy, Safety Rules, Research, and Equipment;
·NFL Sideline Concussion Assessment Tool;
·Heads Up Concussion in Youth Sports report which details detection of concussions, symptoms, prevention techniques, and post-concussion action plan;
·American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Position Statement on Concussion in Sport which provides an evidence-based best practices summary to assist physicians;
·National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement on Concussion in Sport which provides research regarding the recognition of concussions, evaluation and return-to-play decisions, concussion assessment tools, the role of the physician, and equipment issues; and
·American Academy of Neurology Position Statement on Concussion in Sport which provides recommendations for policy measures that promote high quality, safe care of individuals participating in contact sports.
The Group also received reports and presentations from Dr. Sills (Group member), Dr. Hainline (NCAA Chief Medical Officer), Dr. Bailes (Group member), Dana Marquez (Auburn Equipment Manager), and Steve Shaw (SEC Football Officiating Coordinator).
The Group will remain in existence and will continue to review research, identify best practices and standards of care, disseminate information to SEC member institutions and develop educational strategies.
Members of the SEC Working Group on Concussions are as follows:
·Dr. Daniel W. Jones (Chair) – Chancellor, University of Mississippi
·Dr. Robert Collins – Team Physician, Mississippi State University
·Dr. Jay Clugston – Team Physician, University of Florida
·Dr. Allen Sills – Co Director, Vanderbilt University Sports Concussion Center
·William D. Mustain, PhD – Associate Professor of Neuropsychology, University of Mississippi
·Ron Courson – Athletic Trainer, University of Georgia
·Jeff Allen – Athletic Trainer, University of Alabama
·Greg Sankey – Southeastern Conference Staff
·David Knight – Southeastern Conference Staff