The December 17th meeting of the Athletic Directors Roundtable, a professional learning community comprised of Capital Region Athletic Directors, centered on a presentation entitled “Planning and Promoting Safe Participation for Students with Health Conditions”. As sports injuries, particularly concussions, have received increased media attention, it has become imperative for athletic directors to be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of both legal mandates governing participation and medical best practice when immediate treatment is required. Linda Khalil and Gail Wold of the New York Statewide School Health Services Center provided athletic directors with a wealth of information and reference material to successfully navigate these complex issues.
The vast majority of the presentation focused on the various protocols and mandates surrounding accommodations that enable students with chronic conditions such as asthma and type-1 Diabetes to participate in physical education and athletics. These issues require careful attention because frequent dispensing of medication is often necessary. Ms. Khalil and Ms. Wold provided comprehensive explanations about who is authorized to carry and administer medication and the necessary procedures to obtain and document this authorization. They emphasized the critical importance of working closely with the school’s registered nurse as a point person and resource when dealing with any questions regarding medications.
Ms. Khalil and Ms. Wold also offered a framework for preparedness in more emergent situations such as concussions, cardiac events and seizures. They emphasized the necessity of being trained to follow clearly established procedural guidelines in these emergencies. This ability to follow a familiar plan allows treatment to be administered quickly, calmly and effectively in situations that are frightening and chaotic. Ms. Khalil and Ms. Wold directed round-table members toward the New York Statewide School Health Services Center website- which boasts a robust A-Z index of resources to help in preparing for these crises.
The “Planning and Promoting Safe Participation for Students with Health Conditions” presentation equipped school athletic directors with a great deal of important information that will allow them to meet the challenges provided by both chronic and emergency medical situations. By following the guidelines presented, athletic directors will be able to create an environment where all students are able to safely experience the health benefits of physical exercise and athletics.