Already administering a strong set of protocols addressing the removal and return to play of young athletes suspected of sustaining concussions in competition, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is further ramping up its concussion education efforts of coaches, student-athletes and parents as the 2012-13 school year approaches.
In partnership with the University of Michigan’s NeuroSport and the Pediatric Trauma Program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, required online rules meetings for coaches and officials will include an education component illustrating the serious nature of concussions; recognition of the signs and symptoms; a review of return to play protocols; applicable MHSAA regulations; and downloadable co-branded resources from NeuroSport, as well as materials produced by a joint effort of the Brian Injury Association of Michigan, the Detroit Lions, the Center for Disease Control and the MHSAA.
This is the second year the MHSAA has included concussion education in its online rules meetings, which are annually viewed by nearly 20,000 coaches and game officials. This year, the Michigan NeuroSport Concussion Education - High School Coach edition, endorsed by the American Academy of Neurology last fall, has been modified for the MHSAA audience. The MHSAA will also promote the availability of the NeuroSport concussion education modules offered specifically for parents and coaches.
“These educational efforts, coupled with protocols addressing concussions when they take place on the field of play, put our schools in the best possible position to minimize the risk to young people,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “We’re pleased to have our new partnership with University of Michigan NeuroSport and our ongoing partnership with the Brian Injury Association of Michigan which put our state at the forefront of addressing the critical health issue for interscholastic athletes.”
Roberts added that the same educational materials the Association has co-branded with its partners will also be used to help raise concussion awareness in other youth sports by other sponsors in the state.
“We are proud to partner with MHSAA and bring the most up-to-date concussion education to those on the frontline of athletics. Education is a vital component to improving player safety,” says Amy Teddy, injury prevention program manager at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “We believe that ‘It takes a team to keep concussions on the sidelines.’ Parents, coaches, teammates, officials and athletic trainers all have a role in protecting athletes from serious injury.
“In addition to our coach modules, we recently launched our parent edition to help another member of the ‘team’ better recognize and understand concussion.” added Teddy, who also is director of education for Michigan Neurosport.
The NeuroSport online programs for parents, high school coaches and youth sports coaches is now available at http://www.MichiganNeuroSport.com. An online program for athletes will be available soon.
NeuroSport has also produced a 60-second public service announcement in which one of the state’s all-time winningest football coaches – John Herrington of Farmington Hills Harrison – talks about concussions. This video, along with a 30-second PSA recently updated by the MHSAA, “No Such Thing As Just Getting Your Bell Rung,” will be made available to media outlets in time for the coming sports season, and will be shown during MHSAA programming online and on cable television.
With the first girls basketball games, wrestling matches and ski races joining the event schedule this week, an estimated 65,000 athletes will be competing across the 13 sports for which the Michigan High School Athletic Association sponsors postseason tournaments.
Girls basketball tipped off Monday, Dec. 4, and the first boys and girls wrestling meets may take place Wednesday, Dec. 6. The first girls and boys ski races may begin Saturday, Dec. 9, when they will join competition already underway in boys basketball, girls and boys bowling, girls competitive cheer, girls gymnastics, boys ice hockey, Upper Peninsula girls swimming & diving, and boys swimming & diving across both peninsulas.
The MHSAA winter schedule concludes this 2023-24 school year with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. This will be the first time since 2018-19 that the girls basketball tournament will finish the winter season, a switch made necessary by the start of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament March 22-23 and the possibility Michigan State University could host first-round games at the Breslin Center, where the MHSAA plays both its girls and boys basketball Semifinals and Finals.
Three more sports will incorporate changes this season related to MHSAA Tournament format or qualification.
For girls and boys bowling, Regionals will be conducted at eight sites – instead of the previous six – with each site qualifying to Finals its top two team finishers and the top seven singles for both girls and boys competitions. For the Team Bowling Finals, match play has been switched to a head-to-head, best-of-five Baker game format, whereas previously the format included regular games rolled by individual bowlers.
In girls gymnastics, an addition to criteria is expected to classify gymnasts more accurately as Division 1 (most skilled/experienced) or Division 2 for MHSAA Tournament individual competition. Athletes who have previously competed in a non-school event at either the Sapphire or Diamond Xcel levels would be required to compete at the Division 1 level for MHSAA postseason competition. These designations were added to other criteria used to determine an individual competitor’s division.
A change that led to much larger event fields at the Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals this fall is expected to produce the same at the LP Boys Swimming & Diving Finals this winter. Beginning this season, qualifying times have been determined based on the past five years of MHSAA race data, but also accounting for past numbers of qualifiers in each swim race – which should, as with the girls, allow for more boys to advance to the Finals in events where fields have not been full over the previous five seasons.
Additionally, the Competitive Cheer Finals will return to its traditional Friday-Saturday schedule, March 1-2 at McGuirk Arena at Central Michigan University, with Division 1 on Friday and Divisions 2-4 on Saturday.
This regular season, wrestlers have two more opportunities to compete. Teams are allowed two more dual meets (between two teams only, not to be converted into three or four-team meets), bringing the total allowed days of competition to 16 with no more than eight of those allowed for tournament-type events where a wrestler competes more than twice.
At those tournament-type events, wrestlers may now compete in up to six matches on one day of competition (as opposed to the previous five matches per day) – but an athlete may not wrestle in more than 10 matches over two consecutive days.
An adjustment to the awarding of free throws in basketball is likely to be the most noticeable in-game change for any winter sport this season. One-and-one free throws have been eliminated, and fouls no longer will be totaled per half. Instead, fouls are totaled and reset every quarter, and two free throws are awarded with the fifth foul of each quarter.
The 2023-24 Winter campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Swimming & Diving Finals on Feb. 17 and wraps up with the Girls Basketball Finals on March 23. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:
Districts – Feb. 26, 28, March 1
Regionals – March 5, 7
Quarterfinals – March 12
Semifinals – March 14-15
Finals – March 16
Districts – March 4, 6, 8
Regionals – March 11, 13
Quarterfinals – March 19
Semifinals – March 21-22
Finals – March 23
Regionals – Feb. 23-24
Finals – March 1-2
Districts – Feb. 16-17
Regionals – Feb. 24
Finals – March 1-2
Regionals – March 2
Finals – March 8-9
Regionals – Feb. 19-28
Quarterfinals – March 2
Semifinals – March 7-8
Finals – March 9
Regionals – Feb. 12-16
Finals – Feb. 26
Swimming & Diving
Upper Peninsula Girls/Boys Finals – Feb. 17
Lower Peninsula Boys Diving Regionals – Feb. 29
Lower Peninsula Boys Finals – March 8-9
Wrestling – Team
Districts – Feb. 7-8
Regionals – Feb. 14
Finals – Feb. 23-24
Wrestling – Individual
Districts – Feb. 10
Boys Regionals – Feb. 17
Girls Regionals – Feb. 18
Finals – March 1-2
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.