for All Student-Athletes
This is where student-athletes and parents will find information about what is required to participate in athletics at St. John's. This includes: pre-season meetings, participation cards and required forms, ImPACT testing, use of personal helmets, and concussion policies and procedures.
Prior to the beginning of every season, student-athletes and their parents are required to attend a mandatory pre-season meeting. Members of the school administration and the Athletic Department will review school policies, MIAA rules and regulations, and pre-season requirements. Following this general sesssion, there will be sport-specific meetings with each team's coaching staff to review team expectations, start dates, schedule information and locations. Parents will be notified about the pre-season meetings through the weekly parent newsletter .
Sports Participation Cards and Required Forms
In order to play a sport, every student must receive a sports participation card from the school nurse. The following forms are required by state law in order for students to receive their sports participation card. Students will not be permitted to attend practice or to try out without a current sports participation card.
The following three forms must be completed and up-to-date in students' medical files in the school nurses' office before students can participate in athletics:
- Physical form dated within the last 13 months.
- Pre-Participation Head Injury/Concussion Reporting Form. (Commonwealth of Massachusetts reporting form)
- Head Injury and Concussion Law Parent/Student Form (St. John's Prep form). Signing this document will acknowledge that you have completed the educational requirement of the concussion law.
- All three forms must be returned to the nurses' office before students receive their try-out/participation clearance cards.
Please also note:
- St. John's Prep requires all student-athletes to complete a baseline ImPACT test before participation in athletics. Read the ImPACT testing section below for more information.
- If a student has been referred to a physician by the school athletic trainer, they must check in with the school athletic trainers before returning to competition.
- Students who plan to wear their own helmet while playing hockey or lacrosse, must read, sign, and return the appropriate form. See the personal helmets section of this page for links to the forms and more information.
All students entering grade 6 and grade 9, as well as transfer students, must take an ImPACT test to establish a baseline evaluation related to concussions and head injuries, regardless of whether they plan to play sports.
The most widely used system for this purpose, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computerized evaluation that takes no more than 60 minutes to complete. ImPACT testing must be completed at St. John's Prep. We are unable at accept any outside baseline tests.
ImPACT testing is administered at St. John's in July and August. For more information about specific dates and times are available on the Parent Portal (login required). Remember:
- Returning students who will enter grade 9 in September must do ImPACT testing again to establish a new baseline for their High School years.
- Returning students who will enter grades 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12 in September are not required to do ImPACT testing again.
In July of 2010, Massachusetts passed Senate Bill 2496, commonly known as the "Concussion Law", designed to require schools, parents, and athletes to be educated and have procedures in place regarding concussion reporting. Understanding head injuries is still an inexact science; the CDC describes a concussion as a "traumatic brain injury that comes from a blow to the head." Most concussions occur without a loss of consciousness and simply are not as plainly obvious as a bad broken bone or sprain. Eliminating concussions is next to impossible; in contact sports, injuries of all sorts are inevitable. That makes recognizing head injuries, treating them, and ensuring an athlete is fully healed before he or she returns to the field is absolutely critical. This law requires parents and athletes to receive information about concussions. The St. John's Prep policy regarding athletic concussion protocol is outlined below.
St. John's Prep Concussion Policy
Any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behavior consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional.
When an athlete is cleared to return to play by a physician with documentation after they have sustained a concussion, a gradual return to play plan will be administered by the Athletic Trainer to monitor the athlete and insure they are symptom free during sports specific activities, before allowing them to participate in live athletic participation. Any prior concussion history for an athlete before attending St. John's Prep should be noted in the mandatory Pre-Participation Head Injury Concussion Reporting Form (Commonwealth of Massachusetts form) that is due before each sports season for record keeping purposes.
- Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional (certified athletic trainer, primary care physician, orthopedic physician, neurosurgeon, or medical doctor) that day.
- No athlete should return to play or practice the same day after a concussion has been diagnosed. Students must also complete a post concussion impact test with our school athletic trainers before returning to play.
- Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by a medical doctor including and not limited to a Primary Care Physician, Orthopedic Physician, Neurosurgeon, or Medical Doctor prior to resuming participation in any practice or competition. The formulation of a gradual return to play protocol should be a part of the medical clearance, if deemed necessary.
- If special accommodations need to be met in the classroom, those needs will be addressed at the request of the physician, through the nurses office in conjunction with our school counseling department.
- These guidelines will be applied to all practices, games, and scrimmages.
NOTE: Athletes with continued concussion symptoms are at significant risk for recurrent, cumulative, and even catastrophic consequences of a second concussive injury. Such risks are minimized if the athlete is allowed time to recover from the concussion and return to play decisions are carefully made. No athlete should return to sports or other at-risk participation when symptoms of a concussion are present and recovery is ongoing.
Concussion Law - Commonwealth of Massachusetts Chapter 166
Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to enhance forthwith the public health of school athletes, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 222. (a) The department shall direct the division of violence and injury prevention to develop an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program in which all public schools and any school subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules shall participate. Participation in the program shall be required annually of coaches, trainers and parent volunteers for any extracurricular athletic activity; physicians and nurses who are employed by a school or school district or who volunteer to assist with an extracurricular athletic activity; school athletic directors; directors responsible for a school marching band; and a parent or legal guardian of a child who participates in an extracurricular athletic activity.
In developing the program, the division may use any of the materials readily available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program shall include, but not be limited to: (1) current training in recognizing the symptoms of potentially catastrophic head injuries, concussions and injuries related to second impact syndrome; and (2) providing students that participate in any extracurricular athletic activity, including membership in a marching band, the following information annually: a summary of department rules and regulations relative to safety regulations for students participation in extracurricular athletic activities, including the medical protocol for post-concussion participation or participation in an extracurricular athletic activity; written information related to the recognition of symptoms of head injuries, the biology and the short-term and long-term consequences of a concussion.
(b) The department shall develop forms on which students shall be instructed to provide information relative to any sports head injury history at the start of each sports season. These forms shall require the signature of both the student and the parent or legal guardian thereof. Once complete, the forms shall be forwarded to all coaches prior to allowing any student to participate in an extracurricular athletic activity so as to provide coaches with up-to-date information relative to an athlete’s head injury history and to enable coaches to identify students who are at greater risk for repeated head injuries.
(c) If a student participating in an extracurricular athletic activity becomes unconscious during a practice or competition, the student shall not return to the practice or competition during which the student became unconscious or participate in any extracurricular athletic activity until the student provides written authorization for such participation, from a licensed physician, licensed neuropsychologist, certified athletic trainer or other appropriately trained or licensed health care professional as determined by the department of public health, to the school’s athletic director.
If a student suffers a concussion as diagnosed by a medical professional, or is suspected to have suffered a concussion while participating in an extracurricular athletic activity, the student shall not return to the practice or competition during which the student suffered, or is suspected to have suffered, a concussion and shall not participate in any extracurricular athletic activity until the student provides written authorization for such participation, from a licensed physician, licensed neuropsychologist, certified athletic trainer or other appropriately trained or licensed health care professional as determined by the department of public health, to the school’s athletic director.
(d) A coach, trainer or volunteer for an extracurricular athletic activity shall not encourage or permit a student participating in the activity to engage in any unreasonably dangerous athletic technique that unnecessarily endangers the health of a student, including using a helmet or any other sports equipment as a weapon.
(e) The superintendent of the school district or the director of a school shall maintain complete and accurate records of the district’s or school’s compliance with the requirements of this section. A school that fails to comply with this section, as determined by the department, shall be subject to penalties as determined by the department.
(f) Nothing in this section shall be construed to waive liability or immunity of a school district or its officers or employees. This section shall not create any liability for a course of legal action against a school district, its officers or employees.
(g) A person who volunteers to assist with an extracurricular athletic activity shall not be liable for civil damages arising out of any act or omission relating to the requirements of this section, unless such person is willfully or wantonly negligent in his act or omission.
(h) The division shall adopt regulations to carry out this section.
SECTION 2. Penalties for noncompliance with the program or regulations promulgated pursuant to said section 222 of said chapter 111 shall not be imposed before January 1, 2011.
Approved July 19, 2010
Information about sports related concussions is available at the following websites: