Sports Law • Risk Management

New Concussion Guidelines for the NBA

The new NBA guidelines regarding concussions are at the forefront today with Cleveland Caveliers Kyrie Irving, who suffered a head injury playing the Miami Heat last Tuesday. In order to resume play, Kyrie will have to undergo a series of tests, including riding a stationary bike, jogging, doing agility work and non-contact drills. Unless he can do these activities without showing concussion symptoms, he will not be released to play basketball.

The NBA’s new director of their concussion program, Jeffrey Kutcher, M.D., an associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan, must consult with each player that sustains a concussion before being able to return to play. Another aspect of the new program which has been in effect since last December is that the players are subjected to baseline neurological exams during training camps.

Although concussions are much less common in the NBA than in the NFL, the NBA has paid close attention to the issue over the past few years and so decided to implement a program to protect their players.
Concussions can occur in many sports and so it is a good idea at any level of play, whether youth, adult, team or individual sports, to implement guidelines. When players return to play earlier than they are ready they expose themselves to more significant and possibly permanent injuries.