Physical Education | Sports FAQ's

ADAPTIVE PHYSICAL EDUCATION

What is Adaptive Physical Education?
In NYS, all elementary and secondary students must receive physical education as a part of their educational program. The federal law Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), entitles students with disabilities to receive a free, appropriate public education, including appropriate physical education. Adaptive Physical Education (APE) is developmentally appropriate physical education that teachers adapt, modify, and/or change a physical activity so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability.

Who is qualified to teach APE in New York State?
According to NYS Commissioner's Regulation 135.4, APE instruction for students ages 5-21 must be provided by a certified physical education teacher. Students who are recommended for APE on their IEP must receive a program of adaptive physical education taught by a licensed PE teacher. The NYS document, Adaptive Physical Education Regulations, Recommendations, and Resources, provides additional information on APE instruction.

Where can I find resources related to APE?
NYSED has created an  APE Toolkit on their website with resources for adapting or modifying PE for the student with a permanent or temporary disabilityThe Part II resource form has a sample form to request an adaptive plan from the private care provider


Since many districts employ Athletic Trainers for interscholastic sports, may the school medical director delegate the review of physicals and re-certification forms to athletic trainer?
No, the Certified Athletic Trainer may not review physicals. "Athletic training is the application of the principles and procedures for managing athletic injuries. This includes preconditioning, conditioning, and reconditioning activities. Athletic trainers work under the supervision of licensed physicians to provide services to individuals who have suffered athletic injuries. Certified athletic trainers manage athletic injuries and illnesses such as sprains, strains, contusions, and post surgical reconditioning."

The NY State Office of Professions contains contact information (email and phone) for the Board Office related to Athletic Training which may be viewed by clicking here

Mixed Competition

The Department has received several questions regarding how the updated APP guidance relates to the standards for mixed competition reviews. It is important to clarify that the regulations surrounding mixed competition for participation interscholastic sports pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation §135.4(c)(7)(ii)(c) remain the same. However, the physical tests to be used under that regulation will be updated and will also follow the President’s Physical Fitness Test. The Mixed Competition Guidelines are currently under review at the Department and further communication will follow in the near future.

Please note: In mixed competition review, the fitness scores are not intended to be qualifying or disqualifying scores. The scores that appear in the chart are not absolute requirements for the panel. The scores only provide a reference for the panel to consider. If the scores of the student differ from the standards, the panel should assess the significance of that difference.

For further clarification on the New York State Education Department Commissioner’s Regulations for Physical Education and Athletics please contact the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at (518) 474-5922. For inquiries specific to competition governance you may wish to contact the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) at (518) 690-0771 and/or toll free at (866) 598-2816.

NYSED FAQ Link to the NYSED Athletic Placement Process for Interschool Athletic Programs (APP) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) released April 2015

COMPETITIVE CHEERLEADING FAQs click here. 

DIABETES, SPECIAL DEVICES AND PARTICIPATION IN INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS

What is the procedure involved in requesting permission for special decives and prosthesis for athletic participation?

The NYS Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has a procedural guideline, “Permission for Special Accommodations”, which describes the process in order for students who have special devices, such as insulin pumps or sensors, to participate in interscholastic sports. The District Athletic Director must request approval of any special devices from the NYSPHAA Assistant Director responsible for safety who will provide a written notice of approval or denial to the school district. Once NYSPHSAA has approved an accommodation for a student, it remains in effect for the entire time the student plays interscholastic sports. This notice is kept by the AD. A copy should be given to the student’s coach, who is responsible for showing it to the referee upon request. The procedure is detailed in the “Permission for Special Accommodations” which is on our A-Z Resouces, under “A” for Athletics.

Permission for Special Accommodations (Procedures for permission for special devices(such as insulin pumps or sensors) and prosthesis, religious accommodations and special accommodations)

NOTES / EXCUSES

Can notes be accepted from acupuncturists?
You can accept orders from physician or dentist if it is in their scope of practice as defined below from the office of professions. A certified acupuncturist is a licensed physician or dentist who has completed at least 200 hours of instruction in programs in acupuncture registered by the department, or in programs determined by the department to be the equivalent of registered programs, and at least 100 hours of supervised experience acceptable to the department. This information can be found on the NYSED Office of Professions found at the following link: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/acu/.

Can notes be accepted from chiropractors?
The Office of Professions at the State Education Department has offered some guidance on the issue of chiropractic care for school age children. School nurses are able to accept notes from chiropractors that relate to their scope of practice. This would mean that a school nurse may accept a physical education excuse or scoliosis evaluation, but would not be able to accept a physical examination form or a note related to treatment of a communicable disease. If there is a question about the specific order, check with the school medical director for guidance. The information regarding scope of practice for chiropractors from the Office of Professions can be found at the following link: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/chiro/

Can notes be accepted from physical therapists?
School nurses are able to accept notes from physical therapists that relate to their scope of practice. You may accept a note from the PT if the diagnosing physician indicated in writing that the PT could clear the student based on their assessment or specific guidelines. Information regarding the scope of practice for physical therapists from the Office of Professions may be found at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pt/

A physical therapist may provide a letter or report indicating that the physical therapy treatment has been completed. Depending on the nature of the injury and the required treatment, it may be possible in some circumstances for a physical therapist to indicate that a student may return to activity, especially if the physical therapist is the one who removed the student from activity and has provided treatment pursuant to the direct access provisions of Education Law section 6731(d). If a physician or other referring professional directs that the student return to him or her for evaluation before returning to activity, the physical therapist would not be authorized to return the student to activity. Additionally, a school district may choose to require that return to activity clearances come from a physician.

Can notes be accepted from podiatrists?
A podiatrist,  may clear a student for an injury or condition related to feet. "A podiatrist is a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) who is a licensed health care professional who diagnoses, treats, operates and prescribes for any disease, injury, deformity, or other condition of the foot." Podiatrists can treat any condition of the feet, such as the following:

  • injuries to bones (including fractures), tendons and soft tissue
  • foot problems resulting from illness such as diabetes, arthritis, AIDS, and cardiovascular diseases
  • bacterial and fungal infections
  • skin and nail disorders
  • benign and cancerous tumors
  • congenital and acquired foot deformities

Information regarding the scope of practice for podiatrists from the Office of Professions may be found at http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/pod/

PE/ATHLETIC PARTICIPATION

Can a school medical director delegate the review of physicals and re-certification forms to the school nurse?
Yes, the medical director may designate (in writing) to the school nurse to review physicals and contact him or her with any questions or concerns.

What is the procedure for clearing students for Interscholastic Sports?
 Prior to participation in each athletics sports season, all students should be provided an interval athletic health history form (see Appendix B) to be completed and signed by the parent/guardian unless a physical exam has been completed within the last 30 days. The medical director or their designee (such designation should be in writing and the designee must be an RN (Athletic Trainers and LPN’s scope of practice does not include assessment) should interview students with any interim health history which notes recent injury or illness. The school medical director must detail in writing any conditions, illnesses, injuries that must be referred back for further review by the medical director.  Page 14 of the Health Examination Guidelines states:Prior to participation in each athletics sports season, all students should be provided an interval athletic health history form (see Appendix B) to be completed and signed by the parent/guardian unless a physical exam has been completed within the last 30 days. The medical director or their designee (such designation should be in writing and the designee must be a licensed health professional whose scope of practice includes assessment- LPN’s and athletic trainer’s scopes of practice do not include assessment) should interview students with any interim health history which notes recent injury or illness.

 What should the Athletic Director provide the school nurse?
The athletic director should provide a list of all student athlete candidates to school health personnel before each sports season begins to verify that all athletes have been cleared to participate and have completed all health requirements for participation. After try outs are completed the final team roster should be given to school health personnel as a double check that the health requirements are met. Athletic and health services staff should work cooperatively to ensure eligible athletes are facilitated to participate and ineligible athletes are not allowed to participate until all clearances are finalized.

Must students with disabilities still participate in physical education?
All students must attend and participate - either in the regular physical education class or an adapted physical education class. Students MUST have 2 credits of physical education in order to graduate. The physician/provider must submit a Certificate of Limitations indicating what type of activity the student may do. This should be done either every semester or yearly if this is a long term disability.

Can students participate in activities conducted prior to being cleared for athletic participation?
School sponsored activities conducted out of the sport season such as general conditioning, weight training, weight lifting, intramurals, recreation, open gyms, club activities and camps are permitted:

  • If such programs are not mandated by coaches or school personnel
  • If such programs are available to all students.

Can an 18 year old sign the Interim Athletic Health Form themselves if they are 18? No. An 18 year old who is still a dependent and in high school will need parent/guardian signature.  Schools act in loco parentis and therefore must have parent consent on sports etc.

SKIN INFECTIONS

What guidance is available for dealing with skin infections and the athlete?
Your Medical Director provides guidance for dealing with skin infections and the athlete (at this time of year wrestling is highlighted). The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) offers valuable guidance as well.

SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ATHLETIC PARTICIPATION

What is the procedure involved in requesting permission for special devices and prosthesis for athletic participation?
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has a procedural guideline, “Permission for Special Accommodations”, which details the process that a school district should follow in order for students who have special devices, such as insulin pumps or sensors, to participate in interscholastic sports.  The guideline states that the District Athletic Director must request approval of any special devices from the NYSPHAA Assistant Director responsible for safety who will provide a written notice of approval or denial to the school district. Once NYSPHSAA has approved an accommodation for a student, it remains in effect for the entire time the student plays interscholastic sports. This notice is kept by the AD. A copy should be given to the student’s coach, who is responsible for showing it to the referee upon request. The procedure is detailed in the “Permission for Special Accommodations” which is our SN Tool of the Week. It is also on our A-Z Resources, under “A” for Athletics.

Updated 7/27/18