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NYS provides the opportunity for a safe, inclusive, and enriching athletic experience for all students outlined in the physical education section of the Commissioner's Regulations. The Department prioritizes safety, fairness, and equity, focusing on the holistic development of our young athletes to foster student growth by creating an educational and competitive experience within an atmosphere of sportsmanship. With a strong emphasis on social emotional learning, equity, inclusivity, and health, our athletic programs not only promote physical development but also instill values, skills, and health benefits that will serve them throughout their lives.

For Families

To play sports, the Commissioner's regulations say you need to have a health check-up. This isn't just to decide if you can or can’t play sports. It's to make sure you are healthy and safe before you start doing any hard physical activities and also to keep checking on your health during the sports season whenever needed.

Prior to participation in each athletic season, all students must be provided a health history form, NYS Interval Health History Form for the parent/guardian to complete and sign- unless a health exam has been completed within 30 days before the start of the season.

Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act

The Interval Health History for Athletics form includes questions that help find out if there have been any health changes since your last physical exam or health check-up. If there are any new health issues or changes, the school might ask you to see a doctor before you can join in sports activities. Also, if you show any signs that you might be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), you must stop all sports until a doctor checks you out. You can only start playing sports again after the doctor gives a written okay to the school.

Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (NYSED memo)

NFHS Parent Credential

This comprehensive program equips parents with the necessary tools and insights to effectively support their student-athletes. Emphasizing the critical role of positive, supportive parenting, the NFHS National Parent Credential offers expert advice on fostering athletic talent, maintaining academic balance, and promoting good sportsmanship.

NFHS Parent Credential

For Current Coaches

Coaches in New York State play a crucial role in providing a safe and enriching experience for students participating in interschool athletic teams. Section 135.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education outlines the minimum requirements for individuals appointed as coaches for varsity, junior varsity, freshman, and junior high school teams in public schools. General Guidance and ongoing learning opportunities for coaches can be found at NFHS Learning Center.

CPR, First Aid, and Concussion Management Requirements

A qualified coach should be capable of safeguarding the health and well-being of students, requiring knowledge of the human body's structure and function, injury prevention, and proper response when injuries occur. All coaches are mandated to hold valid certification in first aid knowledge and skills, including adult CPR, issued by accredited organizations such as the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and others approved by the Department. First aid and CPR certification must be secured before the first day of practice.

Additionally, coaches are also required to complete a biennial course of instruction related to mild traumatic brain injuries as outlined in section 136.5(b) of the Commissioner's Regulations. This training covers recognizing the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries, monitoring, and seeking appropriate medical treatment for students who experience such injuries. This course can be completed through department-approved instruction methods, ensuring that coaches are well-equipped to handle these critical aspects of student safety and well-being.

Coaching Certification

Please see the Coaching Preparation section of the physical education website for more information.

For Physical Education Directors, Athletic Directors, and School Leaders

Section 135.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires each school district operating a high school shall employ a Director of Physical Education.  The Director of Physical Education must hold certification in physical education. This certification ensures that the individual has the necessary knowledge and training to oversee physical education programs effectively. The director must also possess administrative and supervisory service qualifications, indicating their ability to manage and supervise educational programs and personnel.

This leadership role encompasses both instructional and administrative functions within the physical education department. The Director of Physical Education is responsible for ensuring that the physical education curriculum is effectively taught to students, this includes athletics. They may oversee curriculum development, teacher/coaching professional development, and instructional quality.

Guidance for Coaching and Athletic Programs Requirements

Documents, Guidance, and Memos for Student Participation in Athletics

  • Health Examination Guidelines for Schools
  • Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act (NYSED Memo)
    • § 136.9 Sudden Cardiac Arrest
    • The Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act  is a new law as of July 1, 2022. This law requires schools, students, and parents/guardians have information on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) risks, signs, and symptoms. SCA in students at risk can be triggered by athletic activities. To decrease any chance of SCA in a student, the Interval Health History for Athletics must be completed and signed by a parent/guardian before each sports season unless a physical examination has been conducted within 30 days before the start of the season. This form has questions to help identify changes since the last physical examination or health history was completed. School personnel may require a student with health or history changes to see a healthcare provider before participating in athletics. This law also requires any student who has signs and symptoms of pending SCA be removed from athletic activity until seen by a physician. The physician must provide written clearance to the school for the student to be able to return to athletics.
  • Guidelines for Students with Disabilities: Extended Athletic Eligibility
  • Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (NYSED 12/17)
    • Athletic Placement Process (APP) is a program for evaluating students who want to participate in sports at higher or lower levels, as approved by the Board of Regents as a part of the school eligibility rules in 1980, and is aligned with Learning Standards 1 and 2. Commissioner’s Regulation Section 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a)(4).
    • This evaluation is a comprehensive evaluation of a child’s emotional and physical maturity (including height and weight); as well as athletic abilities, physical fitness, and sport-specific athletic skill in relationship to other student athletes at that level.
    • The intent of the APP is to provide a protocol for those districts that choose to allow students in grades 7 and 8 to move up; or for students in grads 9-12 to move down, allowing them to participate safely at an appropriate level of competition based upon physical and emotional readiness and athletic ability rather than age and grade alone.
    • The APP is not to be used to fill positions on teams, provide additional experience, provide an opportunity for middle school or junior high students when no modified program is offered, or to reward a student. Instead, it is aimed at the few, select students who can benefit from such placement because of their level of readiness.
  • Mixed Competition
For Athletic Trainers

Athletic Trainers working in secondary schools must also be familiar with Regulations of the Commissioner: Subchapter G. Health and Physical Education; Part 135, Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 8 CCRR-NY 135.4(c)(7)(d) which govern the activities of athletic trainers in the secondary school setting, and Article 162 and subpart 79.7 of the Commissioner’s regulations regarding the licensure and certification.