2-8-5 – Substitute Players Who Show Signs of Concussion

The Rules on Concussion

Anytime a player hits their head and shows signs of concussion, they should be substituted out immediately.

There are at least two rules that address the issue of concussion in NFHS, along with multiple points of emphasis over the past 5 years.  As the concern over concussions in every sport and every age group from youth to professional sports continues to rise, we must adhere to the rules to protect the players.

Rule 2, Officials’ Responsibility, section 8-5 states, “Immediately remove a player from the game who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion as in 3-3-8.” 

Rule 3-3-8 on substitutions states, “Any player who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be immediately removed from the game and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional.”

Play Analysis

It is always best to err on the side of safety if you consider for a moment that a player may have a concussion.  This isn’t to say that every time a player hits his/her head, we should put them out of the game.  However, there is no problem to have the player subbed out to be checked.  Once a player has been checked out by the trainer, the coach can then make the decision to allow the player to continue to play.  The secondary benefit of this process is that it takes the liability off of the official and places it back on the coach.

In the following clip, the official notices that the defender hits his head on the floor after the crash.  He talks to the player and signals to the coach that he had just hit his head, then allows the player to keep playing.  The player was probably ok, however, this is one of those times it doesn’t hurt to have the player replaced and checked out.

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