New norms for PSAL form

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Throughout the fall sports season, the new, updated version of the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) medical form was a source of confusion for athletes and coaches alike.

The PSAL medical form clears athletes to allow them to participate in sports. The biggest change to this medical form is that coaches no longer have to look for specific medical information throughout the form to clear a player. Now, they only have to look at the last page to check for a doctor’s signature. Filling out the form became confusing when some athletes did not realize the form had been updated and handed it the previous form.

The form also includes updated questions, modified to address a student’s medical history and a risk screening survey. Regarding the reasons for this change, girls’ bowling coach Maria Assante explains, “I think [it’s] to ultimately better serve the kids, to make sure we got all the medical information we can possibly use on you. When young students die during sports practice, that’s [a] big problem… So we wonder why is that happening.” She said, “if we gather all the information that we possibly can about your physical health, that should give us enough information to determine whether or not you are eligible to play.”

Athletic Director Lauren Caiaccia said: “The new form protects the player’s privacy better. The previous form did not protect as much information from coaches. I think the change is warranted.” 

Girls swimming, boys badminton, and soccer had been practicing since the beginning of the school year and had to turn in the new PSAL medical form to play.

Junior Angela Zhu from the girls’ swim team said, “It was really stressful to [hand in] the medical [form] on time… One of the swimmers on our team did not give in the medical [form] on time, so she could not swim in the first meet.” 

Senior Lori Eng from the tennis team said, “I checked the website first so it was fine, but I had a lot of friends who didn’t know and had a harder time going back to get the new forms after filling out the old ones.” Students who needed to get the updated information took to turn longer to them in. 

Coach Assante said “It’s been a little bump in the road. A lot of kids had to go back to the doctor and get the new form filled out and that takes time. Doctor’s offices are like ‘Yeah, that’s going to take three weeks or three days.’ When your season is so short and you just have to get rolling, these kids already have medicals, so it’s just about getting the forms filled out again.”

Photo Courtesy of Almadin Hodzic