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Dotson Lewis' Blog

Texas High School Football To Start Soon


Dotson’s note: With the high school football season approaching, I have received many questions regarding the dangers of football and what is being done to prevent injuries. The two major governing bodies of interschool activities, in which football is included, are UIL (University Interscholastic League) & TAPS (Texas Association of Private Schools). For the most part TAPS has adopted the UIL football safety rules. The UIL makes the rules for all sports conducted by all public schools in Texas.  This includes programs at the elementary, middle, junior high, 9th grade and high school levels. Many local high school teams have been practicing for two weeks or more. In fact, local high school scrimmages will start on August 14th. The following is information from the UIL regarding high school football injuries. It has been said that we only have two sports in Texas, “Spring & Fall Football.”



Warning about the Inherent Dangers of Athletic Participation|

 Student athletes and parents should be aware that any athletic participation will always have inherent dangers. Although rare, death or catastrophic injury can result from participation in sports, and care should be taken by all concerned to minimize such dangers through the use of appropriate equipment, proper training methods and common sense. The UIL encourages student athletes in all sports, and their parents, to discuss risks and risk minimization with coaches and schools.


When In Doubt, Sit Them Out!



Concussions received by participants in sports activities are an ongoing concern at all

levels. Recent interest and research in this area has prompted reevaluations of treatment

and management recommendations from the high school to the professional level.

Numerous state agencies throughout the U.S. responsible for developing guidelines

addressing the management of concussion in high school student-athletes have

developed or revised their guidelines for concussion management.


Definition of Concussion

There are numerous definitions of concussion available in medical literature as well as

in “guidelines” developed by the various state organizations. For the purpose of this discussion, the definition presented in Chapter 38, Sub Chapter D of the Texas Education Code is considered appropriate.  It states that "Concussion" means a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain caused by a traumatic physical force or impact to the head or body, which may:

(A) include temporary or prolonged altered brain function resulting in physical,

cognitive, or emotional symptoms or altered sleep patterns; and

(B) involve loss of consciousness.


Concussion Oversight Team (COT) Requirements:

The governing body of each school district and open-enrollment charter school with

students enrolled who participate in an interscholastic athletic activity shall appoint or

approve a concussion oversight team.

Each concussion oversight team shall establish a return-to-play protocol, based on peer reviewed scientific evidence, for a student's return to interscholastic athletics practice or

competition following the force or impact believed to have caused a concussion.


Membership: Each concussion oversight team must include at least one physician and, to the greatest extent practicable, considering factors including the population of the metropolitan statistical area in which the school district or open-enrollment charter school is located, district or charter school student enrollment, and the availability of and access to licensed health care professionals in the district or charter school area, must also include one or more of the following:

(1) an athletic trainer;

(2) an advanced practice nurse;

(3) a neuropsychologist; or

(4) a physician assistant.


If a school district or open-enrollment charter school employs an athletic trainer, the athletic trainer must be a member of the district or charter school concussion oversight team.

Each member of the concussion oversight team must have had training in the evaluation, treatment, and oversight of concussions at the time of appointment or approval as a member of the team.




Responsible Individuals:

At every activity under the jurisdiction of the UIL in which the activity involved carries

a potential risk for concussion, there should be a designated individual who is

responsible for identifying student-athletes with symptoms of concussion injuries. That

individual should be a physician or an advanced practice nurse, athletic trainer,

neuropsychologist, or physician assistant, with appropriate training in the recognition and management of concussion in athletes.


In the event that such an individual is not available, a supervising adult approved by the

school district with appropriate training in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of

a concussion in athletes could serve in that capacity. When a licensed athletic trainer is

available such an individual would be the appropriate designated person to assume this



The individual responsible for determining the presence of the symptoms of a

concussion is also responsible for creating the appropriate documentation related to the

injury event.



Concussion can produce a wide variety of symptoms that should be familiar to those

having responsibility for the wellbeing of student-athletes engaged in competitive

sports in Texas. Symptoms reported by athletes may include: headache; nausea; balance

problems or dizziness; double or fuzzy vision; sensitivity to light or noise; feeling

sluggish; feeling foggy or groggy; concentration or memory problems; confusion.

Signs observed by parents, friends, teachers or coaches may include: appears dazed or

stunned; is confused about what to do; forgets plays; is unsure of game, score or

opponent; moves clumsily; answers questions slowly; loses consciousness; shows

behavior or personality changes; can’t recall events prior to hit; can’t recall events after

hit. Any one or group of symptoms may appear immediately and be temporary, or delayed

and long lasting. The appearance of any one of these symptoms should alert the

responsible personnel to the possibility of concussion.



Response to Suspected Concussion

A student “shall be removed from an interscholastic

athletics practice or competition immediately if one of the following persons believes

the student might have sustained a concussion during the practice or competition:

(1) a coach;

(2) a physician;

(3) a licensed health care professional; or

(4) the student's parent or guardian or another person with legal authority to

make medical decisions for the student.”


For additional information, consult the “Frequently Asked Questions And

Resources Document Regarding Implementation of House Bill 2038” that is

available on Health and Safety Section of the UIL web site.



Dotson’s other note: As you can see, the UIL is very concerned regarding sports injuries. It also does everything possible to prevent them. It is my opinion that the positive lessons learned in high school sports participation far outweighs the risk of injury. I would encourage all students to participate in as many interschool activities as possible. I firmly believe that the school sport venues are an extension of the classroom.  Your suggestions, comments and/or questions/concerns regarding my blogs are appreciated. Call the Benchwarmers 361-560-5397 weekdays, Mondays thru Fridays, 3-6 p.m. or contact me.  Phone: 361-949-7681 Cell: 530-748-8475 Email: dlewis1@stx.rr.com


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