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Concussion Testimony to MCPS BOE 050712

Concussion Testimony to MCPS BOE 050712

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Parent Testimony to Board of Education in Montgomery County, MD Regarding Sports Concussions.
Parent Testimony to Board of Education in Montgomery County, MD Regarding Sports Concussions.

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Published by: Concussion_MCPS_Md on May 08, 2012
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05/08/2012

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May8,2012MontgomeryCountyBoardofEducationPublicCommentTestimonyofTomHearn
Goodmorning,SuperintendentStarrandmembersoftheBoard,IamTomHearnandIamaWhitmanHighSchoolparent.Iwantedtotalkwithyoufurtheraboutconcussionsinhighschoolfootballandothersports.
It
maynotbehighlightedinthejobdescription,Dr.Starr,butyouaretheseniorsafetyofficerforsports
in
MCPS,andthismaybethemostimportantpositionthatyouplay.Insportsvernacular,Dr.Starr,youaretheBlindSidelefttackleforthe2,400MCPSstudentswhoplayhighschoolfootballandthe20,000orsootherhighschoolathletes.Nooneeverdiedfromabadacademiceducation,buthighschoolstudentathletesdieorgetseriousbraininjurieseachyearfromfootballandothersports.Onapracticallevel,concussioninterfereswithastudent'sabilitytoparticipateinacademiceducationbecausehisrecoverydependsoncognitiverest,whichmeansreducedschoolwork.SoconcussionscanreallybeadragonAYP.Footballaccountsforoverhalfoftheconcussionsinhighschoolsports.Emergingresearch,however,showsthatsubconcussiveblowstotheheadalsoposeaseriousrisktothehumanbrain.Studieshaveshownthathighschoolfootballplayerssustainanaverageof650subconcussiveblowstotheheadinaseason.TheNCAAstillpermits5full-contactpracticesperweekandtwo-a-daypractices.LastJuly(2011),however,theIvyLeagueimposeda2full-contactpracticelimitperweekinfootball.TheIvyLeaguealsobannedalltwo-a-dayfullpaddedfootballpractices.Amongstudentathletesplayingtheoffenseordefensiveline,thenumberofsubconcussivehitsperseasoncanbeashighas2,200.(Pleaseseetheattached"HitCount"ProposalbyDr.RobertCantuoftheSportsLegacyInstituteandBostonUniversity.)Doctorsbelievethatovertime,thesesubconcussiveblowscanleadtoanAlzheimer's-likebraindiseasecalledchronictraumaticencephalopathyorCTE.CTEhasbeenconfirmed
in
severaldeceasedNFLplayersandissuspected
in
NFLgreatJuniorSeau'ssuicidelastweek.Seau'sfamilyhasdonatedSeau'sbrainsothatitcanbeautopsiedtoconfirmtheCTEdiagnosis.Inlightofthisandsimilarresearch,whathasbeendone?In2011,NFLplayersnegotiatedthatteamsarepermittednomorethanonefull-contactpracticeperweek.TheIvyLeaguetookthisactionbasedontheleadershipoftwooftheiruniversitypresidentswhoaremedicaldoctors.TheIvyLeaguetoothisactionontheirownbecausetheirpresidentsfeltthatgettingaconsensusonsuchlimitsfromtheNCAAcouldtakeyearsandtheythoughtitwastoourgenttowait.That'swhatsmartpeopledowhen
 
facedwithimperfectdataaboutaserioushealthissue.AsfarasIknow,MarylandandMCPSstillhavenolimitonthenumberoffullcontacthighschoolfootballpracticesperweek.MarylandandMCPSalsocontinuetoallowtwo-a-dayfullpaddedfootballpractices.DukeBeattieheadsMCPSAthleticsandforthelasttwoyearshasbeenthePresidentoftheMarylandPublicSecondarySchoolAthleticAssociation(MPSSAA).Intheattachedemailfromlastweek,IaskedDukewhethertheMarylandStateAthleticAssociationhasdiscussedtheIvyLeagueandNFLactions.Iamlookingforwardtohisanswerandsoshouldyou.BetweennowandthestartofthefootballseasoninAugust,youneedtoconsiderwhyyoushouldn'tatleastadoptIvyLeaguelimitforMCPSfootball.Dr.Starr,IwillsendyouthistestimonytoyouonTwitter.Ifyouthinkthisisanimportantissue,Iwouldappreciateyouretweetingit.
DerekSheelyFoundation
Ijustwanttosaythat,sadly,wecan'ttalkaboutconcussionsinMontgomeryCountywithouttalkingaboutthetragicdeathofDerekSheelylastsummer.DerekgraduatedfromNorthwestHighSchoolin2008.LastAugust,DerekdiedfromabraininjuryhesustainedduringfootballpracticeatFrostburgState.Derek'sparentshavestartedTheDerekSheelyFoundationtohonorDerek'smemorybyraisingawarenessandfundingresearchinconcussionandtraumaticbraininjuries.TheFoundationhasseveralupcomingfundraisingevents,includingaJune2four-milerun(and1milewalk)atNorthwestHighSchool.Sobeforeyougotobedtonight,pleasevisitthewebsite,www.TheDerekSheelyFoundation.org.Youwillnotbethesamepersonafteryoudo.Andyouwon'tfeelthesamewayaboutfootballconcussions.
AnnualSportsPhysicalForm
PleaseseemyattachedemailtoDukeBeattie(attheendoftheattachments).Twoyeatsagoin20I0,theAmericanAssociationofFamilyPhysicians,AmericanAcademyofPediatriciansandotherdoctorgroupsupdatedtheir1993recommendedhealthformforannualsportsphysicals.Thenewerformhasmoregranularquestionsaboutpreviousconcussionsandheadinjuriesandhashelpfulsuggestionstothedoctortoinquireaboutotherhealthissuessuchasdietarysupplements.TheMarylandStateAthleticAssociation,MPSSAA,promptlyadoptedthenewform
in
July2010,and,asdescribedinmyemailtoDuke,severalnearbycountiesuseit.MCPSAthletics,however,stillusestheoldform.CouldyoupleaseencouragetheMCPS2
 
AthleticsDepartmenttoupdateitslinkinthenextdayorso.Studentsusuallygettheirannualphysical
in
Juneandparentsneedtohavethemostcurrentform.ThankyouforlisteningtometodayandIwouldbehappytoansweranyquestionsyoumayhave.3

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