New push for concussion prevention in Maryland

WASHINGTON – The Maryland State Board of Education has cemented emergency regulations meant to protect student-athletes at risk for serious head injuries.

Members voted unanimously this week to adopt the set of concussion safeguards after giving them preliminary approval last summer.

“It’s critical to students’ personal safety,” says Tom Hearn, a concerned Montgomery County parent who lobbied the panel.

Hearns’ son was injured playing football in high school.

“The regulations are really designed to help prevent a student who has sustained a concussion from getting a second concussion before recovering from the first,” Hearn says.

Under the rules, schools are required to provide additional training for coaches and physical education teachers.

There is also new, more stringent protocol in place for determining how long a concussed athlete should sit on the sidelines before returning to their sport.

“A concussion can prevent a kid from being able to participate in academic education, which you would think for a school system would be the primary goal,” says Hearn.

Maryland’s education board is not done tackling the issue.

Members are convening an advisory group to discuss possible “exposure limits” for students involved in contact sports.

The group meets in June and plans to make recommendations to the board in July.

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