Michigan Concussion Center begins partnership with U-M Recreational Sports

August 11, 2020


By admin

U-M rugby players

U-M rugby players during a match.

The Michigan Concussion Center is joining forces with U-M Recreational Sports to update their concussion policy to improve the safety of all club sport student-athletes. The new policy focuses on three areas: education, immediate removal from play, and return-to-play procedures.  

Since club sports are sponsored student organizations rather than a part of Athletics, this updated policy sets clear expectations for concussion education and management. At the beginning of each academic year, all club sport supervisors, coaches, and safety officers must complete an online concussion education session and submit a concussion acknowledgment form. Additionally, each participating student-athlete must sign an agreement that includes a section on concussion management education and expectations. 

The updated policy states that any coach, safety officer, teammate, or official can remove any student-athlete from play who has a suspected concussion. Student-athletes will also be required to remove themselves from play and seek medical attention if they believe they have suffered a concussion. These incidents will be documented and submitted to Rec Sports. 

Finally, student-athletes are not allowed to return to play until they have been fully cleared by and receive written permission from a health professional with expertise in the recognition, treatment, and management of concussions.

This policy covers the nearly 1,500 student-athletes who participate in the 29 U-M club sports. 

Lexi Chaput, senior assistant director of U-M Recreational Sports, says this policy continues to emphasize student-athlete safety.

“Safety is 100 percent the most important thing when it comes to any of the programs or opportunities we offer,” Chaput said. “These students commit many hours to their chosen sport. It’s inherent in sports that there is a risk of head injuries and concussions, so it’s important for us to put together policies and procedures that will support the safety of our students, the activities we’re sponsoring,…and the education on helping them advocate for themselves and their well-being.”

Many of the club sports represent U-M when they travel and compete against other universities.

Last year, the center strengthened its partnership with U-M Athletics, which was previously formed when the two partnered together under the CARE Consortium. Realizing the relationship only benefited a fraction of the U-M student-athletes, the center began discussions with Rec Sports to ensure as many student-athletes would see the benefits. 

“We are excited to partner with Rec Sports and help them with their concussion policy,” said Dr. Steven Broglio, director of the Michigan Concussion Center. “This policy will help reduce injury risk and quickly identify and manage those with injury; ultimately helping them back into the classroom and on the field in a safe way.”

“Our connection with the Concussion Center is an opportunity to partner on something so important. Concussion is a hot topic in the world of sports,” Chaput said. “It’s nice to merge the capacities we have within the program with expert advice, resources, and looking at things in a way that is relevant to us.”

This partnership also allows Rec Sports to help student-athletes receive the additional resources they need to make proper medical decisions related to head injuries. 

“A lot of times students are searching for resources because, for some of them, this is their first time figuring things out on their own, especially medical scenarios,” Chaput said. “If someone is reported to have a head injury, the student will receive outreach from our full-time staff with resources, expectations, and support. I hope this creates a comfort level for the participants because we have their best interest in mind, and we want them to be safe.” 

Chaput envisions expanding the updated concussion policy and educational opportunities into other parts of Rec Sports, like intramural sports. The new policy requires intramural supervisors to undergo the same concussion education as the club sport coaches, supervisors, and safety officers.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said.