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Health and Safety


The Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act was drafted and implemented to protect the safety of student-athletes in North Carolina and was signed into law on June 16, 2011, by Governor Beverly Purdue.

There are three major areas of focus in the law and these include: education, emergency action and post-concussion protocol implementation, and clearance/return to play or practice following concussion.

NCHSAA member schools have been required by law to be in compliance with the Gfeller-Waller Act since 2011. The State Department of Public Instruction has been doing audits of school compliance with the act.

The State Board of Education has now taken action which authorizes the NCHSAA to apply and enforce this rule. In anticipation of this action, the NCHSAA Board of Directors, in December of 2014, developed policy for fines and penalties for non-compliance which was included in the minutes of that meeting.

Since this involves health and safety of participants, there would be a $1000 fine for non-compliance and a $500 fine per venue for failure to post venue specific emergency action plans.

The NCHSAA provides more information on Gfeller-Waller and the State Board of Education policy "Concusion Safety Requirements for Interscholastic Athletic Competition" on its website.


Heat Illness

Please familiarize yourself with these warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Early Stages (heat exhaustion)

- Cool, most, pale, ashen or flushed skin
- Headache, nausea, dizziness
- Weakness, exhaustion
- Heavy sweating

Late Stages (heat stroke)

- Red, hot or dry skin
- Changes in level of consciousness
- Vomiting

Heat Illness Care

Coaches or athletic trainers should be notified immediately if an athlete exhibits signs and symptoms of heat illness. The following care is recommended:

  • Cessation of activity
  • Move the athlete to a cool place
  • Loosen tight clothing
  • Remove perspiration-soaked clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to the skin
  • Fan the athlete
  • If conscious, give cool water to drink

If at any time the athlete refuses water, vomits, starts to lose consciousness, exhibits unusually red, hot or dry skin for the weather conditions, the following steps should be taken immediately:

  1. Send someone to call 911 and request EMS.
  2. Place the athlete on his or her side.
  3. Continue to cool the athlete by using ice or cold packs on the wrists, ankles, groin, and neck and in the armpits.
  4. Continue to check breathing and pulse.