Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 22, 2013

High priority

Md. schools taking look at athletic head injuries

CUMBERLAND — Maryland school officials on Tuesday put an exclamation point on the need to take student-athlete concussions more seriously.

The state school board adopted regulations that require more concussion training for those responsible for the student-athletes. The new regulation also strengthens protocols for addressing head injuries, according to the Baltimore Sun.

The state board also will establish an advisory board to recommend limits on exposure to contact in sports in which concussions can occur.

The Sun said the regulations were adopted unanimously and conclude months of working on a policy to address problems associated with  students who suffer concussions from sports. A 21-member task force that included physicians, athletic trainers and school administrators help to formulate the new regulations.

From now on, physical education teachers will be required to take more concussion-related training and coaches will need a biennial refresher course. School boards throughout the state will be required to establish individual policies the will make sure athletic directors and school nurses know immediately about an athlete’s concussion and also give written notification to parents about the concussion injury.

Edward Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, who co-chaired the task force, said the regulations put Maryland “on the cutting edge” of a problem that has been debated from small, recreation leagues to the National Football League.

We applaud the state board for aggressively pursuing a new statewide policy that will make concussion injury awareness a priority at every public high school. Too many athletes have suffered life-long ailments because of repeated concussions while playing school sports. This new policy puts the health interest of student-athletes ahead of anything else.

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