Court Decisions Specific to Public School Responses to Student Concussions

Main Article Content

Perry A. Zirkel


This article provides an up-to-date and comprehensive canvassing of the judicial case law concerning the responses to students with concussions in the public school context. The two categories of court decisions are (a) those concerning continued participation in interscholastic athletics, referred to under the rubric of "return to play” and (b) those concerning the legal obligations in facilitating the continued educational progress of the student, referred to under the rubric of "return to school." The case law in the first category primarily addresses state common law claims of negligence and federal constitutional claims under the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause. The court decisions in the second category primarily address the successive issues of child find, eligibility, and "free appropriate public education" (including but not necessarily limited to accommodations) under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The outcomes of the court decisions thus far have been largely in favor of the district defendants, but the case law is far from crystallized and complete.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Zirkel, P. A. (2016). Court Decisions Specific to Public School Responses to Student Concussions. Research, Advocacy, and Practice for Complex and Chronic Conditions, 35(1), 1–16.
Advocacy and Policy
Author Biography

Perry A. Zirkel, Lehigh University

Perry A. Zirkel is university professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University, where he formerly was dean of the College of Education and more recently held the Iacocca Chair in Education for its five-year term.  He has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut, and a Master of Laws degree from Yale University.  He has written more than 1,450 publications on various aspects of school law, with an emphasis on legal issues in special education