Sports Concussion Regulations

News from DPH Regarding Sports Concussion Regulations – September 2013


The Department of Public Health (DPH) has asked MACEP to communicate to our members that as of September 2013, Regulations 105 CMR 201: Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Activities require medical clearance for return to play only by practitioners that have received department-approved training in traumatic head injury assessment and management.


MACEP feels that post sports-related head injury medical clearance is not the role of an emergency physician or a decision to be made in the emergency department. By definition, determination to clear a patient for return to sports cannot be made on the day the injury occurs. Patients that have a sports-related head injury should be informed of the need to have medical clearance and instructed to visit their primary care physician for the required form.


Please note that MACEP’s message is to inform you of this new training requirement and to communicate that the training is not needed if you do not plan to sign the medical clearance form. If you or providers in your department are involved in following-up or clearing patients with head injuries and concussions you will need to be aware of the DPH guidelines around required training. If you are interested in completing the training in traumatic head injury assessment and management the information on the training available is below.


DPH Training Requirement of Sports Concussion Regulations for Clinicians Providing Medical Clearance


In July 2010 Governor Patrick signed a law on sports-related head injuries to promote the safety of young athletes in Massachusetts. The Department of Public Health has written the regulations, Head Injuries and Concussions in Extracurricular Activities 105 CMR 201.000, to implement this law which applies to public middle and high schools serving grade 6 through high school graduation and other schools subject to the official rules of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In response to these regulations, schools must develop policies that address medical clearance and return to play for students with sports-related head injuries. 


As part of these regulations, there is a requirement as of September 2013, physicians, nurse practitioners, certified athletic trainers, and neuropsychologists providing medical clearance for return to play shall verify that they have received Department-approved training in traumatic head injury assessment and management or have received equivalent training as part of their licensure or continuing education. MDPH has developed a Medical Clearance Form to include an affirmation that the clinician providing clearance has taken this approved MDPH Clinical Training. 


Options for MDPH-approved clinical training (under heading “MDPH Approved Clinical Training”) as well as the Medical Clearance Form can be found at Participation in one of these options will ensure clinicians’ ability to provide medical clearance under these regulations.