Tom Hearn, a parent advocate of Maryland provided initial testimony to the Montgomery County Board of Education earlier this spring. He had a further opportunity to provide testimony/information to the State Board of Education back on May 22nd. Due to that testimony (seen below) there has been a discussion item placed on the agenda for tomorrows regularly scheduled meeting.
I must say that Mr. Hearn has been working his tail off and I am very interested to see how his approach is handled, as most states have not involved the BoE. Mr. Hearn does take up the contact limits in practices; making Maryland and Illinois as the only two states that have been given such a proposal. Here is the testimony (minus the attachments);
May 22, 2012
Maryland State Board of Education
Public Comment Testimony of Tom Hearn
Regarding Concussions in High School Football and Other Sports
Good afternoon, Members of the Maryland State Board or Education and Acting Superintendent Sadusky. I am Tom Hearn and I am a parent of a student at Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County, Maryland.
I wanted to talk with you about concussions in high school football and other sports. As discussed further below, I am requesting that the State Board take three actions to improve the safety of Maryland high school sports athletes:
1. Adopt regulations similar to those adopted by the Massachusetts Department of Health for youth sports concussions; in Massachusetts, the Department of Health has gone through extensive notice and comment rulemaking procedures to develop workable policies and procedures to manage the risk to student athletes of sustaining sports concussions. The result is a set of state-of-the art best practices that are a suitable starting point for the State Board to align with those practices.
2. Impose limits on full contact practices per week in high school football given that the NFL and Ivy League have adopted similar limits in light of emerging medical research; and
3. Reorganize responsibility for sports concussion safety away from the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association, which currently has the lead, to a new department within the Department staffed by a lead public health professional or sports safety professional, such as a certified athletic trainer with experience managing sports health in a large school system, who reports directly to the State Board.
It may not be highlighted in the job description, but collectively you are the senior safety officers for public high school sports in Maryland, and this may be the most important position that you play.
In sports vernacular, collectively you are the Blind Side left tackle for the 15,500 students who play public high school football and the 100,000 or so other high school athletes.
No one ever died from a bad academic education, but high school student athletes die Continue reading