Can Small Schools (Districts) Handle The Concussion Issue?


With all the measures now being put into place a very interesting question is: can all high schools handle this?  The simple answer to this is: NO!

Required education for the coaches, parents and kids can only go so far; I have even touted this as the most important factor.  However, once there is “live fire” will it all sink in?  I believe it will, but not for all.  From personal experience, the high school I am at we have been hard at the awareness part for the above mentioned “players” in the concussion game and there has not been a 100% retention on the information or actions.  I would say that roughly 75-85% of those involved have grasped the information and action points.  I feel that our school is in a rather unique position as well; one of vigilant follow-up and re-education, almost to the point of annoyance.  How many schools have this going on?  How many doctors or athletic trainers spend time on making sure all “i’s” are dotted and “t’s” are crossed with the multifaceted and dynamic population of coaches, parents and kids?

This is a big time issue that all involved need to observe, remediate and act upon to make sure everyone is on the same page.  This process is not free; free from resources, free from time or free from effort.  How many schools can handle this?  WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama ran a story about this issue;

Dr. Martin Wybenga, “I feel we are fortunate, we are a large school.  It’s much more difficult for smaller schools, like others across Autauga County.  I’m not sure how they are going to deal with this and find medically trained people, someone to look out for the kid’s health and well being.”

Here in Illinois of the over 780 high schools roughly half have an enrollment of less than 600, one-quarter less than 300.  That is a ton of injury exposures in a school district that may not have the resources for proper attention, not only for concussions but for all injuries.  Granted that each of the schools should have access to proper medical treatment via local docs or outlying major hospitals, the issue remains that those student-athletes are not being “covered” during practice/games.

The awareness is getting better, but the coverage remains the same (at least here) and with the addition of more policies and laws when will it start to greatly affect school?  As Matt Chaney has stated time and time again;

Everybody’s tip-toeing around the stark fact that tackle football is way above the capabilities of small-school districts and small colleges, if not all of public education.

As we go forward and the stigma begins to change, the next step is to get the proper coverage for all involved in sports, especially in football.

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2 thoughts on “Can Small Schools (Districts) Handle The Concussion Issue?

  1. Kimberley Formosa August 11, 2011 / 10:04

    I definitely agree. Our experience has been a resounding NO! Especially dealing with the long termed brain injury. Last year was ugly. Although I don’t believe our problems were based from a $ point of view or any lack thereof, it was dominant amount of educators backed by the principal denying my daughter’s concussion symptoms as true or valid as well as refusing to follow physician accommodations and recommendations. After thinking about this subject, I guess I am being naive. When does the dollar not fuel the backbone of any organization?

  2. Ben Elkin August 11, 2011 / 11:54

    I believe this should fall on the states implementing concussion laws. They should at the same time be providing the bare minimum in training for these schools/districts large and small.

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