The Tidioute Community Charter School is taking no chances with concussions.
While there has not been a concrete, one-to-one correlation that concussions suffered in sporting events can lead to long-term problems ranging from mental incapacity to death, there is strong evidence linking the two.
Since public school aid was slashed in Harrisburg two years ago, school districts - including Warren County's - have cut expenditures in a wide range of programs. One of the items left on the floor was athletic trainers, really paramedical personnel who attended scholastic sporting events to intercede when players are hurt.
Recently the Warren County School Board approved a traumatic brain injury policy that essentially places the burden on coaches and officials of detecting and acting on possible concussive symptoms if they occur in a game, a practice or a scrimmage. It also includes "athletic trainers," of which the school district has none.
The policy then goes on to mandate that any athlete showing signs of a concussion must be removed from the event and not return to the team until cleared by a physician.
The TCCS has taken a further step that we believe the Warren County School District should emulate. The charter school has acquired the same baseline testing software used by the National Football League to test each athlete before they end up on the ground or hardwood. The establishment of a baseline of brain activity gives physicians a better idea of the athlete's condition before the injury, and thus a better idea of if or when that athlete can return to competition or practice.
First, since the stakes are so high, we would like to recommend that the school board rethink its elimination of athletic trainers at events, and, second, that the school board take the additional step that the TCCS board has taken.