Bill Holds Coaches Accountable for Return to Play

February 1, 2016

If passed, a proposed bill would impose strict penalties for Maryland public school coaches that allow student-athletes to return to play after a suspected concussion. At a minimum, a coach would face a season’s suspension for a first offense, escalating up to being permanently banned for a third offense.

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the bill would build upon a law that was passed in 2011, requiring medical clearance before returning to play after a concussion. The driving force for this bill is to prevent second-impact syndrome, which can occur if a young person has a second concussion shortly after suffering a first.

The bill has been met with controversy. Some say the penalties are not harsh enough, while others have suggested that the policy should focus on educating coaches about head injuries.

“They should be as good as any athletic trainer in recognizing the symptoms of a head injury,” Dr. Robert G. Graw, Founder of HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Care Centers, told the Baltimore Sun. “The penalty is probably premature until there’s a well-thought-out education and certification for every coach.”

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