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Concussion Screening in Place for Chappaqua Student Athletes

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - The Chappaqua Central School District has adopted a concussion management policy that will require screening for all student-athletes participating in contact sports.

The policy, which resulted from a New York State mandate, details how students will be treated after suffering a concussion and will force some of its athletes to undergo neurocognitive testing.

“It’s supposed to be a baseline for those students we believe will have incidents within school," said board member Randy Katchis. "While they’re playing something, or some type of activity, we’ll have that baseline in its purest form.”

The implementation of the regulations will be overseen by a newly-created Concussion Management Team consisting of a school nurse, the director of physical education and athletics, the district's medical directors and the athletic trainer.

Any student who sustains a "traumatic brain injury" will now immediately be removed from any athletic activity, such as a game or practice. Not taking any chances, students will be treated as if they have suffered a concussion if there is any uncertainty at all.

Students will not be able to resume athletic activity until they have remained symptom-free for at least 24 hours and have been cleared to participate by a physician or neurologist.

School Board President Alyson Kiesel said the policy is not voluntary and that any student wishing to play sports in the district will be forced to comply.

"Participating in school sports is a district privilege, it is not a right, and we can enforce certain requirements,” Kiesel said.

As part of the policy, all coaches, physical education teachers, nurses and athletic trainers will receive training every two years on the detection and treatment of concussions.

The policy was unanimously approved at Tuesday night's board of education meeting following a lengthy discussion regarding its coverage. School board member Jeffrey Mester initially felt the policy was too limiting, as only students in high-impact sports would be subject to testing.

The board eventually agreed to amend the policy and removed the phrase "contact sports" to possibly expand the coverage in the future.

"I would like time for this to play out and for us to see what’s working, what’s not," said Kiesel. "These policies are not set in stone. If we see that it’s working and we’re happy with the way things are going, we can always expand it. It’s not final."

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