NCAA approves rule giving school medical authorities final say when injured players return



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SAN ANTONIO — The NCAA's major conferences have approved a rule that a school's medical officials have a final say over when athletes return to play after concussions or other injuries.

The NCAA already requires schools to have concussion and return-to-play protocols. But the rule approved Friday at the NCAA annual convention was cast as a significant boost to protecting athlete safety.

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline says the rule firmly establishes that a school's medical professionals make the final decision, taking it out of the hands of a player, coach or outside doctor.

In other votes, the NCAA autonomy group put off limits on athlete time demands until 2017, and agreed to let high school baseball players who are drafted hire agents until they enroll in school.

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