Thursday, December 4, 2008

Require athletic trainers at all schools?

CHAPEL HILL - The N.C. High School Athletic Association Board of Directors voted Wednesday to build a coalition to figure out how to implement a recommendation that would require all state high schools to have certified athletic trainers.

The NCHSAA had appointed a task force to make recommendations to the board after two high school football players died from traumatic head injuries this season.

Instead of approving the recommendations, though, the board instructed Charlie Adams, the NCHSAA executive director, to arrange a meeting with representatives from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, the N.C. School Boards Association and the N.C. Association of School Administrators to discuss how to get certified trainers in each school. Finding a way to pay for the trainers was a key issue.

"Every person in the room supports the idea [of having certified athletic trainers]," Adams said. "But we eventually realized that this is something that affects several agencies. We'll be the lead dog and organize the effort, but we need to pull together."

Finding money will be one of the major tasks.

"What was the use of mandating something when you don't know where the money to pay for it is going to come from," said Bobby Guthrie, the Wake County athletic director and a board member.

Adams said he was uncomfortable with the NCHSAA mandating that member schools have a certified athletic trainer.

"Do we have that authority? I don't think so," Adams said.

The task force on head injuries made nine recommendations to the board on Tuesday.

The NCHSAA already has implemented six of them, including requiring that no athlete suspected of having a concussion be allowed to return to practice that day and that no athlete with a concussion can participate until a physician has given clearance.

The recommendations that have not been implemented are:

* Having a certified athletic trainer in each school.

* Requiring every athlete who plays lacrosse, soccer or football have preseason baseline testing. The test would include balance testing, a computerized neuropsychological test, a standard assessment for concussion and a graded symptom checklist.

* A mandatory education program for school athletic personnel. A presentation is expected to be prepared by the NCHSAA similar to a presentation the NCHSAA made on eligibility issues earlier this year.

"I'm sure some people in the medical field will be disappointed we didn't take more action today," Guthrie said. "But I think everyone of the board feels good about going in this direction."

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh News & Observer


Anonymous said...

Any monies being spent should strongly be earmarked for prevention on the field. Helmets have not been the answer. NFL and military research indicates chin straps are the problem. Even Riddell suggests forces on the jaw are the origin of most concussions. A retainer like mouth guard made through a prior corrective positioning has proven affective in reducing concussion from blows to the jaw. The 2008 FIFA international concussion conference approved this procedure for its scientific merits last month, yet the NFL, Guskewics are waiting for a more extensive clinical trial. We are working on a research program at the University of Texas that may bring this procedure to the battlefield. The government is prepared to intervene, funding through granting or insurance companies may make this possible, it's about $150 each child. Please contact me for a story.

Mahercor Laboratories, LLC