Transcript from Maryland State Board of Education Discussion on Concussions

If you recall Tom Hearn from Maryland had the opportunity to present information to the Maryland State Board of Education about concussions.  What resulted was a discussion among the board, Hearn was able to get a transcript (link at end) of this discussion and we have highlighted some key points (they begin on page 5).  The time marking represents where on the audio file you can find the information (working on a link for that)

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11:17

Kate Walsh (MdSBE Board Member):  I think the Board’s interest here was to get at testimony before the Board in public comment.   I think these are all great things that you have done, but there were three complaints that were raised that we thought were quite compelling, and we wanted to hear them addressed.  And I don’t hear you really addressing any of them.

So, can we go through this?  What we heard was that there were regulations similar to those adopted by the Massachusetts Department of [Public] Health, have we done that?  Have we adopted regulations that are similar to those?
12:00
Ned Sparks (MdSDE Athletics, Executive Director/MPSSAA Executive Director): No.  Again, those were regulations of the Department of Health in Massachusetts.
Kate Walsh (MdSBE Board Member): So is that something you saying that we would not adopt be under another?
Ned Sparks (MdSDE Athletics, Executive Director/MPSSAA Executive Director):  I don’t know the regulations exactly how they are in Massachusetts but I would think that that would certainly be a combination of the Department of Health and the Education Department regarding that.  [It sounds like, since the Mass DPH regulations were brought to the attention of the State Board in the parent’s May 22, 2012 testimony—five weeks earlier, Mr. Sparks had not yet reviewed the regulations.] Now, again, we had a representative on that group as you can see from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as a matter of fact two of them.
12:31
Renee Spence (Executive Director, MdSDE Office of Government Affairs):  We work very closely with folks from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Also, in Maryland, the Governor has put together a traumatic brain injury commission.  There are a lot of folks working on traumatic brain injuries.
12:47
Kate Walsh (MdSBE Board Member):  I just think it would be helpful if we could see why this Massachusetts Department of Public Health were cited as superior to our Continue reading
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Katherine Snedaker: Parent Advocate – Sportscapp.com

Photo by Julia Arstrop Photography 2011I was asked to post this on The Concussion Blog, in full.  I appreciate what another Parent Advocate is doing for raising the awareness of concussions.  Katherine is doing a fine job and checking in on her is a must.

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10 ways to lower your Child’s Concussion Risk

BY Katherine Snedaker of www.Sportscapp.com ON June 20, 2012 

Concussions are a part of youth sports at every level from elementary school years to college. Playing at the local playground, riding bikes or just being a kid can put your child at risk for a concussion. However,  any parent can reduce their child’s risk of concussion with some simple steps:

1. Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of a concussion along with the other members of your family so that an educated adult is always available during a practice or a game or by phone for your child to call.  Always check in with your child on the car ride home from any sporting activity or play date, and ask their day, and how they are feeling. If your child complains that he/she hit their head, you should  know the correct questions to ask to see if there could be an issue with a head injury.

2. Educate your child about concussions. There are simple, painless videos for the media savvy teenager of today. Studies show that kids are more likely to report concussions when they know what a concussion is. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner a child can begin the rest needed to heal a concussion.

3. Check your child’s sports equipment at the beginning, middle and end of each season. While there is Continue reading

Maryland State Board of Education Meets Tomorrow

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);

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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.
 
Background
 
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