Sports practices for public schools in Prince George's and Montgomery counties start up soon—but new state regulations may mean changes for athletes and coaches.
The state school board passed new requirements last week that say athletic coaches in Maryland must be trained in identifying serious head injuries, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Thomas Hearn, a Montgomery County parent, spoke to the state school board in May after his son sustained a concussion, and pushed for members to consider limiting the number of contact practices in a week, The Sun reported.
Hearn also plans to continue pursuing even stricter requirements than those passed by the state from Montgomery County’s school board, according to The Sun.
Earl Hawkins, the director of interscholastic athletics for Prince George's County Public Schools, says coaches are required to take a concussion awareness course, and students and parents receive informational packets on the signs and symptoms of concussions before participating in contact sports.
WBALTV reported that the state’s new regulations, which go into effect immediately, came after a study that indicated 60,000 high school and college athletes suffer concussions in a year from contact sports.
"I want to be clear that even one is too many," Dr. Ivan Walks, a state board member, told WBALTV. “We understand that the second one can be worst, but even one can be devastating if you respect the material that we've gotten."
Hearn told The Sun he thinks additional regulations should require students and parents become more educated about concussions before getting involved with a contact sport.
Prince George's public schools are reviewing regulations being used nationally to explore whether the county needs to make additional changes, according to Hawkins.
The current regulations require coaches to receive extra training in brain injuries, dictate when athletes can return to the field after a head injury and require parents to read an informational sheet and sign an affidavit saying they’ve read it, according to WBALTV.
The Sun reports that the new requirements will remain in effect for 180 days, during which time the board will look further into the issue.
Do you think high schools need to be stricter when it comes to regulating contact sport injuries? What types of requirements do you think should be in place? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.