As area high schools athletes prepare to hit the football field, a state house bill aimed at preventing head injuries has coaches receiving training, as well. House Bill 2038 targets concussions, an injury that may not seem severe, but if it isn't treated properly, it could leave long lasting effects.
Ronnie Kirk, Lubbock ISD's Director of Athletic Training, has seen many athletes with concussions.
"No two concussions are the same," Kirk said.
According to the Sports Concussion Institute, 10 percent of student athletes in contact sports, suffer a concussion. State lawmakers have taken notice and now require coaches and trainers to under go specialized training on concussions.
"They have to have a two hour training, which entails closed head injury and how to handle it and what to do," Kirk said.
Under the new guidelines, schools must also form a concussion oversight committee, which must include a doctor. Schools have to also establish a return to play protocol that must be followed by coaches, trainers, teachers and student athletes. Also, student athletes are no longer allowed to return to the football field for at least 24 hours after they receive a concussion.
"They have to see a physician to be released to get back into athletics," Kirk said.
Dr. Mark Cousins, the Athletic Director for UIL, says the rules must be followed correctly by school districts.
"If a school is found to be in violation, they would be subject to a range of penalties," Cousins said.
The house bill is only about a year old, but Lubbock ISD has been enforcing the guidelines for several years.
"We want to educate all the coaches, everybody involved, about how serious the concussions are and can be and what we need to do to help prevent those," Kirk said.
The overall goal, according to Cousins, is to make sure everyone involved in the student athletes performance on and off the field, knows how to handle any situation.
"Knowing what to look for and knowing what to do so they can get those students treated and able to get them back out on the field in as safe and as quickly and as efficient as possible," Cousins said.
For a look at the UIL guidelines, visit: http://www.uiltexas.org/health/info/concussions
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