[excerpted from the 2018/19 TFHS Student Handbook]

Extracurricular activities sponsored by the district are nondiscriminatory in that:

The Gill-Montague Regional School District provides equal opportunity for all students to

participate in intramural and interscholastic sports; extracurricular activities or clubs sponsored

by the Gill Montague Regional School District do not exclude students on the basis of race, sex,

color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or homelessness.


1. All students who wish to participate on a Turners Falls High School athletic team should

acquaint themselves thoroughly with the following regulations. Failure to abide by the

following rules could be the cause of ineligibility:


2. All Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules must be strictly followed. A

copy of these rules is on file in the Athletic Director's office.


3. Students must be in attendance for the entire school day in order to participate unless

excused by the school administration in advance. Students should be in their classes

by 7:45 AM. Students who come in after 8:00 AM without a valid, written excuse

will not be allowed to practice or participate in athletic activities on that day.


4. Turners Falls High School athletes must maintain sound sportsmanship and school

citizenship in class, student affairs, and on the team. Neglect of this rule may terminate

their membership with that team.


5. Students assigned to in-school or out-of-school suspension are ineligible for athletic

activities on the day(s) of suspension. Should non-school days fall between suspension

days, students will be ineligible during that period.


6. A user fee must be paid or waived before athletes are issued a game uniform.


7. All athletes must adhere to the MIAA loyalty to the high school team rule, as explained

by the coach. Athletes must be in regular attendance at all practice sessions, games,

and mandatory team functions. Planned absence must be reported to the appropriate

coach in advance. Absenteeism without a valid excuse, or failure to report planned

absence in advance, may be penalized by the coach.


8. Student and parent/guardian, prior to participation in a sport, must sign the athletic

participation form.


9. All students participating in the athletic program must have a physical exam on file with

the school nurse. This physical exam is good for one calendar year.


10. During the season of practice or play, students shall not regardless of the quantity

use/consume, possess, buy/sell, be under the influence of or distribute any beverage

containing alcohol, any tobacco products, marijuana, steroids, or any other mind-altering substance.

It is not a violation for students to be in possession of a legally defined drug specifically prescribed

for the students' own use by their doctor. This rule applies in situations that occur off school property

and not as participants in a school activity.



To be eligible to participate in sports or co-curricular activities, the student must be enrolled fulltime and have passed all classes in the previous quarter. Each student may be entitled to a

one-time/one-grade exemption. Prior to participating in any official competition, the exemption

form must be obtained from the main office, returned to the principal for approval, and

authorized/received by the athletic director, and forwarded to the coach. The one-time

exemption will be granted if the student has passed two major courses (ten credits) during the

academic marking period in question and has met all MIAA academic requirements.


During spring sports only, students may attend practices and try out for a team prior to report cards being mailed. Students may not receive a uniform, participate in games, or attend games as a team member. In addition, “to be eligible for a fall marking period, students are required to have passed for the previous academic year the equivalent of four traditional” five credit courses

(MIAA Rule 58.3). Two courses must be in the second semester. A "withdrawn failing" grade or

incomplete is credited as a failing grade and counted in the quarter given. Eligibility

determination dates for all specified activities will be the same as designated for MIAA

academic eligibility.



Any student failing to meet academic eligibility rules may be suspended from the following

school-sponsored activities until such eligibility is restored:

● Cheerleading

● Student Council

● Class Officers

● Theater

● Interscholastic Sports on all levels

● Intramural Sports

● All school-sponsored clubs

● Booster Day

● Regional Student Advisory Council Representative

● Student Government Day Representative

● Any organization of a similar nature that may from time to time be added

Attendance at any school-sponsored events, such as athletics or concerts, as well as

membership on the Student Advisory Committee (to the School Committee) are not subject to

academic eligibility requirements.



PENALTY, First Offense: When the principal confirms, following an opportunity for students to

be heard, that a violation occurred, students will lose eligibility for 25% of the season, or 4

weeks of a season in which students are participants, whichever is greater. No exception is

permitted for students who become participants in a treatment program. Students will be

allowed to remain at practice for the purpose of rehabilitation.


PENALTY, Second and Subsequent Offenses: When the principal confirms, following an

opportunity for students to be heard, that a second or subsequent violation occurred, students

will lose eligibility for an additional 25% of the season and will be ineligible for tournament

participation. If after subsequent violations, students on their own volition, become participants

in an approved chemical dependency program or treatment program, they may be certified for

reinstatement in MIAA activities after a minimum period of six (6) weeks. The director or a

counselor of a chemical dependency treatment center must issue such certification. Penalties

shall be cumulative each academic year, but a penalty period will extend into the next

academic year.



The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee has instituted an Athletic User Fee program at

Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. The system requires that students be

assessed a $75.00 fee per sport. If a family has more than two students participating in a sport

during a season, the fee for additional students is $50.00 per student. Fees will not be refunded

unless numbers indicate that some cuts will be necessary in order to establish a manageable

team. Should a reduction occur, those cut will receive a refund. Please note that paying the

user fee does not guarantee playing time. Financial hardship will not limit access to athletics.

To request a fee reduction or waiver, please complete a Financial Aid Request form, available

in the athletic director, main or guidance offices and on our website.



Research has estimated that 5-10% of high school or college contact sports athletes sustain a

concussion each year. These estimates likely understate the true incidence of concussion. In

one investigation over 50% of high school football athletes did not report their injury to a parent,

coach, or medical professional. A concussion is an alteration of mental status resulting from

the brain being jolted inside of the skull due to a blow to the head or body. Among the many

symptoms associated with concussion, headache, dizziness, confusion, amnesia, nausea, and

disorientation are commonly reported. Loss of consciousness however, only occurs in less

than 10% of all injuries and is not an indicator of concussion severity. Also, following the injury,

the athlete may experience other difficulties such as sensitivity to light and sound,

forgetfulness, fatigue and emotional changes such as anxiety or depression. Most athletes who

sustain a concussion can fully recover as long as the brain had time to heal before sustaining

another hit; but relying only on an athlete's self-report of symptoms to determine injury recovery

is inadequate as many high school athletes are not aware of the signs and symptoms of injury,

the severity of concussive injuries pose, or they may feel pressure from coaches, parents,

and/or teammates to return to play as quickly as possible. One or more of these factors will

likely result in under-diagnosing the injury and a premature return to play. Research has shown

that young concussed athletes that return to play too soon, before their brain has healed, are

highly vulnerable to more prolonged post-concussion syndrome or, in rare cases a catastrophic

neurological injury known as Second Impact Syndrome. Therefore, we encourage the following

care when an athlete sustains a concussion in a school-sponsored sporting event.


1. When the concussion occurs, the injured athlete should visit the local hospital

emergency room or review their condition with their primary care physician to ensure

there is not a need for emergency medical care.


2. Then a care team consisting of the student’s primary care physician and parents, along

with the athletic trainer, head coach and athletic director should monitor the symptoms

of the injury.


Concussion is one of the most complex injuries faced by medical professional as the signs and

symptoms are not always straightforward and the effects and severity of the injury can be

difficult to determine. The injury occurs in absence of structural changes in brain tissue,

generally making traditional neuro-diagnostic tests such as CT, MRI and EEG insensitive.

Therefore, we encourage a third step in the concussion care process.


3. Engage the injured athlete in battery of tests that include a combination of self-report

symptoms, balance, and neurocognitive testing. The combined assessment will provide

a more sensitive and objective evaluation of the effects of the concussion that will help

better determine when it is safe for the athlete to return to play.


Please see this website for more information: