MHSAA continues focus on health and safety

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, December 15, 2015

EAST LANSING — Results of recent changes to health and safety policies and possibilities for future work to help keep school sports safe were main topics of discussion by the Representative Council of the Michigan High School Athletic Association during its annual fall meeting Dec. 4 in East Lansing.

Generally, council takes only a few actions during its fall meeting, with topics often introduced for additional consideration and actions during its meetings in winter and spring. The council heard reports on a number of subjects, chiefly the “4 Hs” of health and safety — Health Histories, Heads, Heat and Hearts — and the MHSAA’s recent work on these topics.

Among data most noteworthy, it was reported that 747 of 750 member high schools complied with the first-time requirement this fall that all head coaches have a valid certification in CPR. Eighty percent of high schools arranged in-person CPR training for all of their high school varsity head coaches, and two-thirds of high schools included assistant and sub-varsity coaches in school-arranged in-person training.

The council reviewed the preliminary concussion care data released to the public Dec. 9, recent actions by U.S. Soccer to reduce heading in youth soccer, discussion in the girls lacrosse community regarding head protection and actions taken by other states and the National Federation of State High School Association regarding football practice policies and their similarities to changes adopted for MHSAA schools prior to the 2014 season. Council members also examined results from this fall’s update meeting opinion poll, including questions related to the possibility of using electronic forms to track students’ health histories and the possibility of practice limitations for all sports similar to those adopted for football.

As a result of the recent amendment of the MHSAA constitution allowing for membership at the 6th-grade level, a number of potential changes to the MHSAA Handbook necessitated by the amendment were presented to the council, as was a draft of an updated 2016-17 membership resolution. Both are expected to be voted on at the March meeting.

The council also received reports on athletic-motivated and athletic-related transfers, reviewed an updated list of approved international student programs for 2015-16 and discussed concerns regarding the exception to the transfer regulation for residential students of boarding schools.