MAHA adopts new concussion management program

By Michael Caples - 

The Michigan Amateur Hockey Association recently announced that they have adopted a new concussion management program that they are requesting all players, parents and coaches familiarize themselves with as soon as possible.

The governing body for youth hockey in Michigan adopted the USA Hockey Concussion Management Program and its associated educational materials to serve as the official management program during their executive board meeting on Dec. 7.

Below is the letter that is being administered to all MAHA members. MAHA Concussion Materials 2012 of the USA Hockey Concussion Management Program, which offers information on how to handle a possible concussion that you or someone you know has experienced. MiHockey recommends that you check out the PDF, and print out a copy to keep with you while you are at your local rink or any other sporting event.

December 12, 2012

To: All Michigan Hockey Players, Parents, Coaches & Volunteers

Re: Michigan Amateur Hockey Association – Concussion Management Program

On October 23, 2012, Governor Snyder signed into law legislation addressing sports-related concussions and required protocols for certain youth organizations.  The governor signed two bills to inform students, coaches and parents on how to recognize a concussion. Senate Bill 1122 requires the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop both educational materials and a concussion awareness program.  House Bill 5697 requires that all youth sports coaches, employees and volunteers participate in the concussion awareness program, as well as provide the educational materials to athletes. We anticipate that this legislation will become effective on or about April 1, 2013.

To comply with these new regulations, MAHA adopted the USA Hockey Concussion Management Program and associated educational materials as its concussion management program at their Executive Board meeting on December 7, 2012.  MAHA has placed these educational materials on their website www.maha.org, in the Forms and Info section, and have included the “USA Hockey Concussion Management Program” handout, “USA Hockey Concussion” poster and some other related information.  We are asking all parents and guardians to visit the site, download the materials and review them with their player. Starting with the 2013 – 2014 season, players and parents will be asked to acknowledge that they have received and reviewed these materials prior to the start of the season.

Another part of the new legislation requires that coaches remove any youth athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion from all hockey activities immediately. The athlete may only return to practice or competition when the organization receives written authorization from a licensed healthcare provider. The association must retain the release for the entire time the athlete is registered with the organization, or until the athlete reaches 18. MAHA is in the process of notifying all our affiliated clubs, associations, coaches and administrators of their responsibility in dealing with, reporting and retaining records of players with concussion symptoms.

Concussion can cause serious and long-term damage to young players if not treated properly. We urge you to review the materials on our website and become familiar with the symptoms of concussions. Concussion awareness is part of our coaching education program, but many times a players symptoms may not show until after the player has left the arena for home. Parents also need to be aware of how to identify the symptoms and learn what to do in the case you suspect a player has sustained a concussion.

Thank you for taking the time to review these materials to ensure the safety of all our young players.

Sincerely

George Atkinson

President

Michigan Amateur Hockey Association