Sports Medicine newsletter: Venue-specific emergency action plans, lightning, and more

The following newsletter was sent to schools on Aug. 9, 2018.

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The CHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee is a collective group of medical and educational professionals whose expertise provides current information to the association membership. It is designed to reflect and evaluate information provided throughout several resources.


The mission of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) is to provide information, vision, and guidance to the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), while emphasizing the health and safety of students participating in interscholastic sports and activities.

Venue Specific Emergency Action Plan (VEAP)

* New Bylaw *

  • Every member school is required to create a Venue Specific Emergency Action Plan (VEAP) for each site that the member school practices and hosts athletic contests. The VEAP must include location, emergency access, emergency contact information and a listing of each member in the protocol’s duties.
  • An annual VEAP training must take place no less than one time per year.
  • To access the VEAP template and checklist, visit Arbiter Athlete.
  • Small schools: The template provided can be modified to the unique needs and characteristics of your school, area, and community. Although it is not expected to look the same as some of our larger, more urban schools, it is expected that your VEAP is detailed and carefully constructed.

Weather: Lightning

The purpose of the CHSAA lightning and tornado policy is to minimize the risk that lightning and other severe weather poses to players, staff, officials and spectators by implementing a lightning safety guideline. This policy shall be followed for all outdoor practices and contests. Prior to your events please gather weather information and have a plan.

  • “No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area.”
  • “When lightning roars, go indoors!”
  • Develop a lightning specific EAP for each venue or event
  • When a thunderstorm seems eminent, lightning is seen or heard, or the weather app indicates that lightning is within 6 miles (8 miles for larger venues), the outdoor venue needs to be evacuated.
  • The use of weather apps such as WeatherBug® Spark™ App, Storm by Weather Underground or the National Weather Service app are recommended (when not available, NFHS policy shall be followed).
  • Activities shall remain suspended until there has been no lightning or thunder activity within a 6-mile radius for at least 30 minutes or 30 minutes has passed since the last flash of lightning was seen or clap of thunder was heard
  • For the complete CHSAA lightning and tornado policy, as well as all other information regarding weather and lightning, please click here.



Signs and symptoms:

  • Dry mouth
  • Thirst
  • Being irritable or cranky
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Individual not able to run as fast or play as well as usual


  • Move individual to a shaded or air-conditioned area
  • Provide cold fluids/sports drink

For the complete CHSAA hydration protocols, as well as all other information regarding hydration, please click here.

Concussion management

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.

Important points of emphasis

  • Signs and symptoms can be evident in four areas: Physical, Cognitive/Thinking, Emotions/Mood and Energy/Sleep
  • Know your athletes at “baseline.” Know their pre-concussion level of symptoms, know their learning and attentional style, know their balance pre-concussion, know their headache and medical history, know their past concussion history and know their personality
  • Research suggest that most students with a concussion may need a few days (usually 1 to 3 days), to be home resting with a gradual return to activity such as school and family activities.
  • An athlete should be symptom-free (or back to pre-concussion functioning) in all four domains before being allowed to start the graduated return to play
  • Complete CHSAA concussion management information and protocols

Mental health

For all CHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee Information, visit the Sports Medicine homepage.