Update, Nov. 1, 2012:
The Maryland State Department of Education’s Traumatic Brain Injury/Sports Related Concussion Task Force's public hearing on traumatic brain injuries and concussions among interscholastic athletes in Maryland public schools has been rescheduled, the State Department of Education announced Wednesday.
The hearing will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 5 in the state school board meeting room at 200 W. Baltimore St., in Baltimore.Advance registration is required to testify. Call Sharon Komornik at 410-767-0555 by the close of business on Friday, Nov. 2 to register. Speakers will have three minutes will be allotted for oral comments.
The rescheduling of the hearing, which was originally set for Monday, Oct. 29, is due to Hurricane Sandy.
Original post, Oct. 17, 2012:
As football season brings the dangers of head injuries into sharper focus, the Maryland State Department of Education announced plans Tuesday to hold a public hearing on traumatic brain injuries and concussions among interscholastic athletes in Maryland public schools.
The Maryland State Department of Education’s Traumatic Brain Injury/Sports Related Concussion Task Force will hold the hearing from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the state school board meeting room at 200 W. Baltimore St., in Baltimore.
Hearing topics may include:
- Best practices for recognizing concussion signs and symptoms.
- Removal and return to play.
- Parent, coach and student awareness.
- Protective equipment.
- Prevention strategies.
Advance registration is required to testify. Call Sharon Komornik at 410-767-0555 by the close of business on Oct. 25 to register. Speakers will have three minutes will be allotted for oral comments.
Written comments of any length may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to MPSSAA, 200 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
The task force has been meeting since August and will issue a report with recommendations to the State Board of Education in late January, said Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
The hearing is a way to allow “parities that we were not able to accommodate on the task force to provide information that might be pertinent to the issue …,” Sparks said. “We want to make sure we at least air out everything and make the report as comprehensive as possible.”
The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in 2011 requiring the state Department of Education to collaborate with the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, local school boards and experts to develop a program to raise concussion awareness among coaches, school personnel, students and parents. The legislation also requires that a student athlete suspected of suffering a head injury be removed from play “until he or she has obtained written clearance from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.”
Following the enactment of the law, the state Department of Education and MPSSAA issued guidelines for implementing concussion awareness programs.
Still, some parents don’t think schools are doing enough to raise awareness about the dangers of head injuries in contact sports.
Kristen Sheely, of Germantown, founded the Derek Sheely Foundation in memory of her son, who died after suffering a head injury during a football practice at Frostburg State University in 2011. Sheely is pressing the state for changes to protect student-athletes.
Click here to read more of Sheely’s story on Patch.
Montgomery County Public Schools announced last month that it is considering a baseline-testing program for all student-athletes, Patch reported. The program would be used to identify when athletes have suffered a concussion and to determine when they can safely return to play.