Using their heads

Published 1:26 am Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Beaufort County Board of Education did the right thing when it expedited a policy that requires student-athletes in many sports to take screening tests that will help diagnose concussions.
The policy requires baseline testing for athletes who participate in sports identified as “collision” and “contact,” including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, softball and others.
The policy will help protect student-athletes from further injury, possibly death. Many professional sports leagues are or have been addressing the concussion issue, which has been in the spotlight for several years. Student-athletes in Beaufort County’s schools deserve the same protections afforded professional athletes.
The appealing aspect of the policy is that it involves more than just student-athletes. Coaches, athletics directors and first responders (trainers, emergency-medical technicians and the like) are required to take an online course about concussions offered by the Centers for Disease Control.
The policy also incorporates a state law that requires public high schools and middle schools to provide education on concussion awareness to student-athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers and first responders.
Concussions are serious for any group of athletes, but especially so for high-school athletes whose brains are still developing. Repeated concussions can lead to long-standing health issues, according to concussion research.
In attacking the concussion issue head on, school board members are doing their part to protect student-athletes from the immediate and lingering effects of concussions.
That’s using their heads.