Online Program

Implementation of the 2010 Massachusetts Act Relative to Safety Regulations for School Athletic Programs: A Multiple-Case Study

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Mitchell Doucette, M.S., Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Maria T. Bulzacchelli, PhD, Department of Public Health, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA
Tameka Gillum, Ph.D., Public Health, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Jennifer Whitehill, PhD, Department of Health Promotion and Policy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Background/Purpose: Reducing the incidence and negative consequences of concussion among youth athletes is a public health priority. 50 states have adopted legislation addressing the problem of sports-related concussions among youth-athletes. In 2010, Massachusetts adopted legislation based on Washington State’s Lystedt Law, enacting state-wide requirements for high school athletic programs. This study explored implementation of the legislation within Massachusetts schools.

Methods: A qualitative multiple-case study approach was utilized. US Census data concerning the household median income and population size of the school-district’s representative town(s) were used to purposively recruit cases. Semi-structured interviews with school-employed actors associated with the regulation’s implementation and archival records associated with participating schools were used for analysis.   Interview data was subjected to a conventional content analysis. An archival analysis of written documents was conducted and informed interview questions.

Results: 19 participants from 5 schools were interviewed. Interviewed school personnel includes 5 athletic directors, 5 coaches, 4 athletic trainers, 4 school nurses, and 1 health and wellness coordinator. Identified themes associated with how the regulation has been implemented within local school districts will be discussed.

Conclusions: While major components of the Massachusetts regulations were implemented with a high level of fidelity differences and similarities regarding local-level implementation decisions existed across cases. Conducting the study qualitatively helped to identify implementation decisions made within cases. However, the knowledge generated may not be generalizable to other school-districts or other states.  Findings speak to the variability often found when implementation is relegated to the local-level.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how a Massachusetts regulation governing head injuries and concussions in extracurricular athletic activities within high schools has been implemented.

Keyword(s): Public Health Policy, Traumatic Brain Injury

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In May of 2015 I will receive my Master's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences Health Policy and Management Department. The abstract submited represents my Master's thesis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.