FCAF-AP: Concussion Management

  • The District shall comply with the concussion management program requirements contained in law (NDCC 15.1-18.2).  For the purposes of compliance, the District has placed concussion signs and symptoms; removal from practice, training, and/or game requirements; return to play requirements, and staff, student, and parental training requirements in administrative regulations (FCAF-AR). These regulations shall be published in staff and student handbooks.

    For the purpose of implementing the concussion management program law, the District has also established the following definitions and requirements.


    Law requires that all school-sponsored and sanctioned athletic training, practices, and games be governed by a concussion management program.  For purposes of determining what constitutes athletic sponsorship and sanctioning, the District has developed the following definitions:

    • School-sanctioned athletic activity is a sport that:
      1. Is not part of the district’s curricular or extracurricular program;
      2. Is established by a sponsor to serve in the absence of a district program;
      3. Receives district support in multiple ways (i.e., not school facility use alone);
      4. Requires participating students to regularly practice or train and compete.
      5. The District has officially recognized through administrative action as a school-sanctioned activity.

    The District shall make all sanctioning decisions on a case-by-case basis based on the criteria in this paragraph. As a condition of receiving school sanctioning, sponsors of the athletic activity shall agree to comply with this policy and the concussion management law. This includes agreeing to provide appropriate training as required by law and providing appropriate information to parents and students as required by law. The sponsor shall provide to the District documentation certifying that this training has occurred and students/parents have viewed required informational material on concussions prior to beginning the activity.

    • School-sponsored athletic activity is a sport that the District has approved through policy or other administrative action for inclusion in the district’s extracurricular program, is controlled and funded primarily by the District, and requires participating students to regularly practice or train and compete.


    Under the concussion management law, the District is authorized to designate removal-from-play authority to individuals who have direct responsibility for student athletes during practice, training, and/or games if a student reports or exhibits a sign or symptom of a concussion.  The Activities Director shall make this determination, and the Activities Director shall ensure that such designees are aware of this responsibility and have undergone appropriate training in accordance with law before commencing duties. 

    Law also authorizes licensed, registered, or certified healthcare providers whose scope of practice includes recognition of concussion signs and symptoms to make removal decisions.  The Activities Director should consult with medical staff to determine who has such credentials and who would be willing to assist in this regard.  This measure in no way guarantees that a healthcare provider trained and credentialed in accordance with law will be present at athletic training, practices, and/or events nor shall the voluntary creation of this safety precaution be construed to created or assume any potential liability under local, state, or federal law or regulation.

    While law allows coaches and officials to make removal from play decisions when concussion signs or symptoms are reported or observed, the District prohibits any coach or official under the age of 18 or who is currently a high school student from making such removal decisions.  High school students and minors who serve as coaches or officials are required to report any known sign, symptom, or report of a student’s concussion as soon as possible to an adult who has removal-from-play authority for action.  This restriction shall be a condition of allowing a minor/high school student to coach or officiate at district training, practices, and games.

    If two or more parties with removal-from-play authority disagree on whether or not a student (who reports or exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion) should be required to sit out, the District requires that the ruling be made in the interest of the student’s safety, meaning that the student shall be required to sit out and comply with return-to-play requirements contained in law.


    The Superintendent designates the Activities Director or a certified athletic trainer to receive return-to-play documentation from a healthcare provider.  This designee shall review the documentation, determine if the healthcare provider has placed any conditions on return to play, contact the healthcare provider for any necessary clarification on the authorization document, and communicate such information to applicable coach(es) and assistant coach(es).  This designee shall also file return-to-play authorization documents that will be retained by the school district the student attends. This documentation must be retained for seven years after the conclusion of the student’s enrollment.

    West Fargo Public Schools will utilize Essentia’s Concussion Management Protocol to comply with the return to play portion of this policy.  (See FCAR-E)

    Adopted: 01/11/17
    Revised: 03/07/23