The beginning of high school football season is just a few short weeks away. It is a time when the young athletes hit the practice field for two-a-days in the hot sun getting ready for the fall season.
And once again, the topic of preventing concussions will rightfully be as much of topic of conversation as touchdowns and prevent defenses. With most high school athletes participating in year-round training, the hits can be extremely hard during both games and practices. It is not uncommon for high school football players "shaken up" by hard hits to sit out several plays, or even the rest of the game. That is better than risking more serious injury by sending a player who has suffered a concussion back into the game, the overwhelming majority of sports coaches understand.
Still, a new West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission rule should be welcomed. It requires that all head coaches of sports at the middle school and high school levels get training on recognizing the symptoms of concussion and how to handle victims of it.
Another good move by the SSAC is to offer the training to those other than coaches.
All schools are now required to have a qualified athletic trainer, or some other individual with at least a limited knowledge of athletic trainer responsibilities available at all practices and during games. Their knowledge and skill provide coaches with qualified recommendations about whether or not it is safe for a player to re-enter a game after a hit to the head.
The athletic trainer rule and the additional SSAC training for coaches will undoubtedly help prevent some serious injuries - or worse.