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ACSM, NCAA Develop New Guidelines to Protect Student-Athletes

The NCAA announced new inter-association guidelines yesterday that address three critical issues concerning the safety of collegiate student-athletes: diagnosis and management of sport-related concussion, year-round football practice contact and independent medical care. ACSM was asked to serve as an adviser by the NCAA and was instrumental in the development of the guidelines.

"ACSM has become a key strategic partner to the NCAA Sport Science Institute," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, MD. "As we advance to new frontiers of promoting and developing college student-athlete health and safety in an inter-association model, it is important and gratifying to know that ACSM is working side-by-side as a sports medicine adviser and partner."

ACSM leadership endorsed the final guidelines without reservation. "These guidelines will lead to important advances with the welfare of the student-athlete in mind," said CEO Jim Whitehead. "ACSM was honored to be a part of the development process, and applauds the NCAA, the College Athletic Trainers Society and the leading sports medicine and sports science organizations for making measurable and historic progress in improving the health and safety of college athletes nationwide."

The guidelines are an outcome of the Safety in College Football Summit that was held in January. Steve Herring, MD, FACSM of the University of Washington Medical Center represented ACSM in the project. The summit set key directions for the development of the guidelines.

"The real key here is prevention," said William Dexter, MD, president of ACSM from 2013-2014 and a sports medicine specialist in Portland, ME. "NCAA, working with top sports medicine organizations and with its institutional members and conferences, did an excellent job of creating safety and contact guidelines that strike an effective balance between protecting student-athletes and giving teams the freedom to adequately prepare for game day."

Hainline expressed appreciation for ACSM's expertise and the value it brings to the table. "ACSM understands the foundational value of integrating scientific research and evidence-based data into the practical application of providing education and guidelines for our student-athletes."

For more on the guidelines,
read the article in the NCAA's Champion Magazine. more


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