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02-26-2013 Parent Testimony Re Athletic Trainer Funding at MCCPTA Forum on MCPS 2014 Operating Budget

02-26-2013 Parent Testimony Re Athletic Trainer Funding at MCCPTA Forum on MCPS 2014 Operating Budget

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Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland
Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland

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04/15/2013

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MCCPTA FORUM ON MCPS PROPOSED FY 2014 OPERATING BUDGETFEBRUARY 26, 2013Questions By Parent Tom HearnRegarding Funding For Athletic Trainers
 Good evening Supt. Starr, County Executive Ike Leggett, members of the MontgomeryCounty [Maryland] Public Schools (MCPS) Board of Education, and the members of theMontgomery County Council who were able to attend.My name is Tom Hearn and I am a parent of a student at Walt Whitman High School. Iwanted to ask Supt. Starr several questions regarding funding for athletic trainers.
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 Last night [February 25, 2013], the Board of Education voted to add $6 million inadditional funding for employee compensation to the $2.2 billion FY 2014 OperatingBudget that the Board recommended to the County Executive and the County Council.In Supt. Starr’s October 15, 2012 memorandum to the Board, he discussed options for hiring trainers.
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Supt. Starr estimated that having a trainer as a full time employee at eachhigh school would cost $1.5 million. Having part-time trainers would cost $500,000.Question 1: Can you tell me whether the $6 million increase for employee compensationin the recommended FY 2014 operating budget includes funding for athletic trainers?Question 2: If athletic training funding was not added, how can you reconcile goinganother year without athletic trainers at MCPS’s 25 high schools with the view of RobertCantu M.D. and other sports concussion experts that, if you can’t afford to have trainers,you can’t afford to have an athletics program?Attached is a Maryland map showing which Counties have athletic trainers at their highschools.
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As you can see, numerous other school systems, including Howard, AnneArundel, and Frederick Counties all have athletic trainers at each high school. Not on themap is Fairfax County, Virginia, just across the Potomac River, where each of its 25 highschools is staffed with two full-time certified athletic trainers.While high school sports provide many benefits, they also represent the school-sponsoredactivity that poses the most serious risk of personal injury to students. Sports are also theschool-sponsored activity that is most remote from the school system’s sole purpose of academic education. Among the risks of high school sports are injuries, includingconcussions. The injury to a student’s brain, along with the cognitive and physical rest
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HereisalinktoSupt.Starr’sOctober15,2012memo.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/122380238/10-15-12-Memo-MCPS-Supt-Starr-to-BOE-Re-Cost-of-Providing-Athletic-Trainers-at-25-High-Schools
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TheMarylandmapisalsoatthislink.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/120598273/Map-Athletic-Trainers-at-Maryland-Public-High-Schools
 
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essential for recovery, significantly impair a student’s ability to participate in academiceducation.President Obama’s Concern About Football ConcussionsThe risks of concussions are greatest in high school football, which accounts for half of all concussions in a high school sports program. President Obama weighed in about brain injuries in football in two interviews leading up to the Super Bowl.
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Obama saidthat if he had a son, he would have to think long and hard about letting him play football.
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If the President lived in Montgomery County, he would have to think longer and harder about letting him play football than he would if he lived in neighboring Howard,Frederick, or Fairfax County Virginia, each of which has athletic trainers at its highschools.Do MCPS Coaches Really Want Athletic Trainers?Perhaps coaches don’t really want trainers. During this budget process, Supt. Starr andthe Board of Education heard from teachers about the need for more training onCurriculum 2.0, and funding was added for that. They heard from school psychologistsabout MCPS being last in psychologist staffing in Maryland, and funding was added for that. They heard from school counselors about the need for more counselors, andfunding was added for that. No coach showed up to advocate for athletic trainers. Nor did any of MCPS’s 25 highschool athletic directors. Or any high school principal. Or MPCS’s Director of Athletics.Why were they all MIA on athletic trainer funding?Were teachers, psychologists, and counselors being fearless in asking Supt. Starr to fundsomething that had not been part of his original budget proposal? Were coaches andAD’s being feckless in remaining silent?Sports policy is set by the 25 high school athletic directors meeting monthly and the 25high school principal, the latter group which sits as the Montgomery County PublicSecondary School Athletic Association, which meets semi-annually. A review of theminutes of these meetings over the last three years fails to reveal any discussion of therole of athletic trainers in keeping students safe. Nor was there any discussion of the factthat athletic trainers are present in school systems to the East, North, and West of MCPS.I met with MCPS’s Director of Athletics William “Duke” Beattie in February 2012 andasked him why MCPS did not have athletic trainers. Director Beattie explained his viewthat, while trainers were needed at the college level because students were away from
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http://www.newrepublic.com/article/112190/obama-interview-2013-sit-down-president http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50140291n
 
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home, trainers were not needed at the high school level because parents could take their kids to the doctor for medical care for sports related injuries.Maybe MCPS coaches don’t really want trainers. In March 2011, Kevin Crutchfield,M.D. testified to the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee in favor of youthsports concussion legislation.
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Dr. Crutchfield is the Director of the Sports ConcussionProgram at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain and Spine Institute in Baltimore. Dr.Crutchfield is also a team neurologist for the Baltimore Ravens.In his testimony, Dr. Crutchfield recounted how, while serving as the team physician for the Winston Churchill High School football team against another MCPS opponent inOctober 2010, he witnessed a player on the opposing team take a hard hit.As [the player] staggered to the sidelines minutes later, with seconds leftin the game and a chance to win, the coach called time out, allowing thechild to remain on the field. When I arrived at the opposing team’ssidelines with the EMT, I identified myself as a physician with expertisein brain injury and the EMT asked an assistant coach to bring the child outfor concussion evaluation. The assistant coach became angry and verballythreatening to the EMT. On the very next play, the ball was thrown to theinjured player, who was wide open in the end zone. He dropped the ballon a very easy throw. The game ended. After the post game huddle, Iapproached the opposing team’s head coach and made him aware of whathad happened. He called the boy over and allowed me to examine him.[The boy] had marked neurological abnormalities and signs of brain injuryso it was no surprise that he dropped the ball. The boy’s father, whooverheard my conversation with the coach and watched me evaluate hisson, was angry when I said his son suffered a concussion. The assistantcoach recruited other coaches and became verbally abusive towards me aswell as physically threatening.
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 Athletic trainers don’t only help with managing concussions. They also help with other sports safety issues. Like heat stroke. Heat stroke is an entirely preventable disease.Sadly, three and a half years ago, Edwin “Dek” Miller, a Northwest High School student,died of heat stroke in a no-pad practice with the team.
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http://www.scribd.com/doc/98410052/Testimony-of-Kevin-Crutchfield-MD-to-Maryland-Legislature-March-2-2011
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A tragic account of a conflict between a California coach and an athletic trainer is given here
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Un-Ringing the Bell: Lessons From ‘Eveland v. San Marcos Unified School District
 
Andrew Blecher, M.D.,April 19, 2012, posted at Concussion Inc.
http://concussioninc.net/?p=5535
 
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http://www.gazette.net/article/20090708/News/307089631/0/gazette&template=gazette;http://www.gazette.net/article/20090715/News/307159642/0/gazette&template=gazette

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