New Va. Concussion Law Brings Stricter Rules For Student Athletes | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

New Va. Concussion Law Brings Stricter Rules For Student Athletes

Play associated audio
Virginia law now requires student athletes showing signs of concussion to be removed from the court or the playing field immediately after the incident.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawdog/4903035058/
Virginia law now requires student athletes showing signs of concussion to be removed from the court or the playing field immediately after the incident.

Local athletic trainers say this is a positive step, but there's still a lot to learn about treating concussions.

Shane Caswell, an associate professor of athletic training at George Mason University, helped conduct a study of concussions in the Fairfax County school system.

"We found that there was a 4.5-fold increase in the county over an 11-year period, something that certainly warrants attention," Caswell says.

Much of that increase can be attributed to greater public awareness of concussion symptoms, Caswell adds. John Reynolds, athletic trainer at Marshall High School in Falls Church, says that's a good thing.

"The increase in incidents is probably related to more people more willing to step forward and say something happened," Reynolds says.

Reynolds says new rules about taking athletes off the field immediately won't change anything in Fairfax, or other Northern Virginia school districts, which have had similar policies for years. But it does make those rules uniform across the commonwealth.

Coaches also say they support the new rule, although they add that they've always focused on the safety of the players. Robert Jackson, is the head football coach at Selem High School in Virginia Beach during the school year, but in the summer, he teaches campers the proper way to tackle at the Brian Orakpo football camp in Fairfax

"Anything that promotes safety for the kids is a good thing," Jackson says.

Jackson says it's a mistake to think that coaches weren't already concerned about head injuries and proper technique to avoid them before scientists began to study concussions.

"Before concussions, we were worried about getting kids paralyzed, so it's always been at the forefront of every coach," he says.

Reynolds says students, parents and medical professionals still need to err on the side of caution after a concussion occurs.

"How long an individual is affected by a concussion is not a question that is easily answered," he says. "We don't know how bad a concussion is and how long it's going to take to recover until its over."

Athletic trainers in Fairfax County also say it's important for concussion victims to get cognitive rest in addition to physical rest during recovery.

NPR

When Wildlife Documentaries Jump The Shark

Networks like the Discovery Channel have been criticized for pushing entertainment at the cost of science, with fake "documentaries" about everything from mermaids to mythical monster sharks.
NPR

Can Oxfam Nudge Big Food Companies To Do Right?

Oxfam is scoring the 10 biggest food companies on a scale of 1 to 10 on a host of issues, from worker rights to climate change. But will promises translate into concrete changes?
NPR

Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion

The Texas governor is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official, but he claims he was just doing what governors do: Vetoing a budget item.
NPR

New GoPro Camera Harness Captures Dog's-Eye View

This past week, the camera maker GoPro unveiled the Fetch harness, which allows people to attach the durable cameras to their dogs. The company was inspired by some DIY efforts at pet videography.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.