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University of Texas at Austin
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Athletics Contact Info

Director of Athletics:
Dr. Susan Elza

Department Email:
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Department Phone:

Department Fax:

Assistant Athletic Directors:

Brian Polk:
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Brandy Belk:
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AJ Martinez:
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Joseph Garmon:
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Head Injury Prevention & Safety


Concussions have come to the forefront of public attention recently, but the UIL Medical Advisory Committee has been focused on this important issue for more than a decade. In 2003, the Medical Advisory Committee recommended the first concussion management protocol, which became required for all schools in 2005. The current Concussion Management Protocol mandated by state law requires each school to appoint a Concussion Oversight Team and establish a return to play protocol for every student-athlete suspected to have a concussion. Additionally, each member of the Concussion Oversight Team and all coaches or activity sponsors are required to complete training about concussions, including information on how to spot and prevent them. To further increase concussion prevention and awareness, parents and students are required to sign a concussion acknowledgement form each year. The form details what a concussion is and contains prevention tips, as well as signs and symptoms. 

Football Specific Guidelines

While there is a risk for concussions in all sports, football has a higher incidence of concussion than other activities.  In addition to the concussion management programs mandated by state law for all activities, the UIL has implemented football specific policies to help ensure the safety of football participants. There are strict practice limitations in football, to reduce the total number of hits throughout a season. At the time of implementation in 2013, the limitation of 90 minutes of full contact practice per student per week was one of the first of its kind in the country at the high school level.  

The UIL and the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) have worked collaboratively to take an unprecedented step forward to make football a safer sport. With this new measure, UIL has made Texas the first in the country to implement a mandatory statewide tackling certification program for all football coaches. Every Texas high school and junior high school football coach must become certified in teaching tackling as a part of the official UIL Coaches Certification Program beginning with the 2018-19 school year.


Concussion: A concussion is type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal function of the brain. It occurs when the brain is rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. What may appear to be only a mild jolt or blow to the head or body can result in a concussion.

Concussion Management Protocol or Return to Play Protocol: The process an athlete must follow once he or she is suspected of having a concussion. This is set by the Concussion Oversight Team at each school. 

Return to Play requirements: A student removed from practice or competition who may have sustained a concussion may not return until they complete the following steps. 

  1. The student has been evaluated by a physician. 
  2. The student has completed each requirement of the return to play protocol set by the concussion oversight team. 
  3. The treating physician must provide a written statement indicating that it is safe for the student to return to play. 
  4. The student and parent sign the return to play form.

Concussion Oversight Team: A group of people, which must include a Texas licensed physician, responsible for setting the concussion management protocol. All members are required to complete training in the evaluation, treatment and oversight of a concussion. Coaches, administrators and other school officials are prohibited from serving as a member of the concussion oversight team.