Procedure for Return-to-Participation in Sports After an Injury/Illness
Unfortunately, some athletes may sustain injuries during their sport season, or experience illness severe enough that they need to see their healthcare provider for evaluation and/or treatment. After such an occurrence, the athlete must be recertified to participate in their sport.
Only the school nurse or district nurse practitioner can give the student approval to return to participation. This process of being "cleared" for participation is also called recertification. The coach cannot do this, the athletic director cannot do this, your private healthcare provider cannot do it (although they must provide a return-to-sports note).
- During the school year, the school nurse is in his or her office every school day.
- During the month of August, Kim Holden, FNP, the district nurse practitioner, is available two days each week for recertification – this means you may have to wait a day or two for your recertification. Contact Kim Holden, FNP, in her office at (607) 735-3590 or on her cell at (607) 426-2854 to make arrangements.
- Get a note from your healthcare provider and bring it your school nurse. It must be signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant – or, in some cases, a dentist, chiropractor or podiatrist may sign the note, but only if the injury/illness falls within their scope of practice
- It must specify that you can return to phys. ed. and sports (NYS regulations do not permit students to play a sport if they are not medically fit to participate in phys. ed.). If you can participate only on a limited basis, specific directions must be given. For example, “may do only upper-body activities”; “may return to PE and football, but no contact – conditioning and noncontact drills only”; “may return to full participation, must wear left knee brace for all practices/games”; etc.
- Give the note to your school nurse or the district nurse practitioner. Do not give your doctor's note to your coach or phys. ed. teacher! They cannot allow you to participate with only this note. They MUST see the district recertification form, and only the school nurse or district nurse practitioner can issue this.
- The school nurse or district nurse practitioner will give you a district recertification form. Give it directly to your coach (during the school year, we will also give you one for your Phys. Ed. teacher). This is the ONLY form that will clear you to participate.
It is the responsibility of you and your coach to make sure you participate only within the limits ordered by your healthcare provider.
Coaches are not allowed to give injured athletes permission to return to sports until the student has been cleared through the district nurse practitioner. Coaches must not accept a doctor's note from an athlete, as this results in confusion, lost paperwork and angry parents later on. Failure to follow recertification procedures may render the athlete ineligible for competition.
Please remember: DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOCTOR’S NOTE TO YOUR COACH OR PHYS. ED. TEACHER! They cannot allow you to participate without the district recertification form, and only the school nurse or district nurse practitioner can issue this form.