Concerned about concussions that youngsters may receive in sports such as football, and the possibly long-term and debilitating effects of such concussions, the Georgia General Assembly is considering a bill requiring schools and recreation organizations to use certain protocol in dealing with concussions. Currently in the House of Representatives, HB 48 is being called the “Georgia Return to Play Act” and would: “require schools and organizations which provide youth athletic activities to provide concussion-related information to youth athletes and parents; to provide for a concussion recognition education course for coaches and others; and to establish a return-to-play policy for youth athletes suffering from concussions.”
At the Thomaston-Upson Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, board member Terrell Jackson stated he has talked with State Representative Johnnie Caldwell, Jr. about the legislation.
“They are trying to get everybody, not just Georgia high schools, but youth groups, too. They want to move that down so that the coaches are given proper training so that they can recognize signs of a child that has a concussion,” said Jackson. They are getting some resistance from youth organizations. He wanted to know what we thought of it.”
Jackson asked Director of Operation Mike Majors, a former high school coach, if the school system and Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has any protocol for dealing with concussions.
Majors replied that the school system has been proactive in dealing with injuries.
“We’ve always felt we’ve been ahead of the game, because we’ve always had a trainer that the school system has hired to be on hand at our events that usually have a lot of contact, like football, soccer, and baskeball.” said Majors. “You have a protocol now in place that the coaches are aware of. They have to attend a clinic. But I think we’ve been ahead of the game for years in that regard.”
Jackson added that he also talked with GHSA Executive Director Ralph Swearngin about the issue.
“He said they have worked with the legislature to craft this bill over the last couple of years. He said their protocol would not change and they would continue to do the same thing they have always done.”
The Board agreed to study the issue and discuss it further at their work session on Feb. 26.