Cumberland Times-News

August 17, 2013

New rules

Schools taking head injuries seriously

Cumberland Times-News

— We applaud the West Virginia Board of Education’s decision to require high schools to inform parents, coaches and student-athletes of the risk of sports-related head injuries and report those injuries within 30 days.

Concussions involving athletes have for too long been regarded as just a byproduct of playing sports.

The days of telling athletes to just “shake it off” and continue playing with an injury should never be permitted.

The West Virginia school board last week adopted new rules aimed at preventing youth concussions.

Among other things, they require schools to increase awareness and warn players of the risks of continuing to play after suffering a concussion.

The new rules also require schools to have a written procedure for recognizing injuries and then clearing athletes to return to play, including the written permission of a licensed health care professional.

One of West Virginia’s U.S. senators, Jay Rockefeller, also is pushing for more to be done to make head gear safer. He has introduced a bill calling for federal rules for safety standards for helmets.

There have been many news articles written about professional athletes — especially football players — who have life-long ailments because of repeated concussions received throughout their career — starting with youth football.

Making headgear safer and closely watching any athlete who suffers a concussion are two fundamental ways to help prevent serious injury — and maybe even death.