Collegiate athletics are a competitive environment with many benefits for the student-athletes and the campus as a whole. The health and well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority, and it is the responsibility of each member institution to protect the health of, and provide a safe environment for, each of its participating student-athletes. While participating in intercollegiate athletics involves unavoidable exposure to an inherent risk of injury, the NCAA mission is to be a leader in the realm of student-athlete health and safety. To this end, the NCAA provides student-athlete benefits; implements playing rules, legislation and policy; maintains a comprehensive drug testing program; and tracks sports injuries and student-athlete experiences. The NCAA’s health and safety needs are addressed by the collaborative efforts of its membership through, governance committees, sport playing rules committees, and sport issues committees through the support and leadership of national office staff.
The NCAA funds many programs that directly support the health and safety needs of student-athletes. Among the primary financial benefits is the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program, which assists student-athletes and other athletics participants who suffer catastrophic injuries while participating in an intercollegiate athletics activity. The NCAA also provides other insurance programs and also helps student-athletes with unmet financial needs through the Student Assistance Fund. Health and safety benefits include both championships and year-round drug-testing programs. Among other things, the NCAA also supports an extensive research program on sports injuries.
The NCAA publishes the Sports Medicine Handbook to assist member schools in developing policies for a safe intercollegiate athletics program. The committee has agreed to formulate guidelines for sports medicine care and protection of student-athletes’ health and safety for topics relevant to intercollegiate athletics, applicable to a large population of student-athletes, and not accessible in another easily obtainable source. This handbook consists of 33 guidelines for each institution to consider in developing sports medicine policies appropriate for its intercollegiate athletics.
The NCAA adopts legislation involving health and safety issues in an effort to provide a safe environment for each of its participating student-athletes. NCAA Legislation like all decisions that affect NCAA member schools and their student-athletes, committees form and pass legislative decisions that impact health and safety issues. New health and wellness initiatives can originate within any committee, such as each sport’s playing rules committee.
The NCAA employs a comprehensive approach to deter drug use, consisting of strong policy and serious sanctions, effective education and short notice random drug testing. Drug use deterrence is a shared responsibility between the National office and NCAA member institutions, which are required to educate student-athletes about banned substances and the products that may contain them.
The rules of the games aren’t just in place to ensure integrity and fair competition. They also protect student-athletes from potential harm by prohibiting certain maneuvers – such as dangerous tackling techniques in football — and penalizing violations. The NCAA was originally formed to establish safety procedures for sport competitions, and today its playing rules committees continue to consider ways to protect the well-being of student-athletes by shaping the rules by which they compete.Last Updated: Jun 4, 2013