Maryland State School Board Moves toward Limiting Contact

The Maryland State School Board, after examining changes the NFL, the Big Ten Conference and the Ivy League have made in limiting contact during practice, is questioning whether it needs to take steps to protect younger athletes from concussions.

A state law passed in 2011 requires that school coaches in certain sports watch a training video about concussions, symptoms and treatments. The law also recommends that athletes who show symptoms of head injury be removed from play and not return to practice until cleared by a physician.

However, a Montgomery County parent whose son received a concussion playing football feels the law could have gone further. In an open meeting before the Board, he requested that it require that parents receive more training in recognizing the symptoms of head injury and that they put a limit on the number of practices youth can participate in that involve contact.

The limits, he explained, were meant to decrease the number of concussive hits players may receive during practice. Everyday hits and tackles have the ability to produce subconcussive injuries that can increase risk of long-term health issues.

The Maryland state school board said it will form a group including athletic directors, health experts and educators to ensure they are doing enough to reduce concussions in youth athletes.

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