In just a few weeks, high school and middle school student athletes will begin practicing for their fall sports seasons. Students interested in football, soccer, cheerleading, volleyball and cross country will take to the field, the court, or the course to compete in the 2013-2014 school year.
Congratulations to them.
Fortunately, their head coaches will be trained on how to recognize concussions.
This year, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission is requiring all head coaches for sports on a middle school and high school level to receive training on concussions - how to recognize them and then how to proceed when they do.
The training is part of a larger initiative to educate communities in all of West Virginia's schools about concussions and keep everyone on the lookout for concussion symptoms.
While the training is required for head coaches, the SSAC is opening up the course to anyone who wants to take it, and mounting an educational campaign in every school.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way the brain functions. Effects are usually temporary, but can include problems with headache, concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination. Repeated concussions can cause problems later in life.
Sports are an important and integral part of the education process for those who wish to participate, and keeping students safe is of utmost priority. Hopefully, the days when a coach or parent simply holler "Walk it off" or "You're OK, get back out there" every time a player is injured are over.
The education process is intended to fill kids' brains with information and provide the ability to use their brains to make informed decisions and actions throughout their life.
Each student only has one brain.
It's a good idea to protect it.