The Ulster Town Board last week voted unanimously to adopt stricter concussion policies for some municipally-organized youth recreation activities.
During a Town Board meeting held on Thursday, November 17, Supervisor James E. Quigley III said the pair of resolutions relating to concussion policies came about during insurance reviews of municipal risk management protocols.
The first specifically covers a concussion policy for the town’s youth basketball program, providing procedures for dealing with head injuries and concussions to help protect the health and safety of players.
“Insurance carriers are concerned about the possibility of a concussion occurring during sports events,” Quigley said. “This policy will be disseminated for all the coaches in our Biddy basketball league to be familiar with and make sure they understand how to treat a concussion if it should occur.”
The policy includes a step by step process for recognizing and responding to head injuries, and identifies those who are equipped to manage anyone suffering such an injury, including licensed physicians, athletic trainers in consultation with physicians, nurse practitioners, and neuropsychologists in coordination with the physician managing an athlete’s recovery.
Additionally, the policy stresses that the best approach to dealing with a traumatic head injury is to do everything possible to prevent it from happening in the first place. Those recommendations include minimizing drills or language promoting “toughness”; encourage the avoidance of hard or intentional fouls that may put opponents in physical danger, minimize the emphasis on drawing charges, minimize horsing around at practices and during games, discourage half-court shots that might injure players or spectators near the basket, and consider the use of mouth guards.
“While it may be impossible to completely eliminate concussions, it is possible to significantly reduce the risk and severity of these injuries,” reads the policy’s conclusion. “Reducing the risk of concussions requires a continuum of techniques and efforts on the part of all parties involved in athletic activities, and we encourage all participants, parents and coaches to familiarize themselves with these safeguards.”
A similar resolution was adopted regarding the Town’s summer camp program, which must meet specific safety criteria to qualify for insurance.
“We are making an affirmation to the insurance carrier that the Town will not authorize the conduct of the youth summer camp next year until the insurance protocols are satisfactory to the Town’s insurer (Travelers Insurance),” Quigley said.
The summer camp protocols are still under review and were not made public during or after the Town Board meeting.
The next meeting of the Ulster Town Board is scheduled for Thursday, December 1.