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Cache school board adopting new policy on sports-related concussions

September 8th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Allee Evensen

LOGAN — Next week, the Cache County Board of Education will vote on a policy that has the potential to change the face of high school sports in the valley.

House Bill 204, passed by the Utah Legislature last spring, requires all amateur sports organizations to adopt and enforce a concussion and head injury policy. Organizations have until Sept. 15 to enact a policy, which has required the school board to fast-track new guidelines that will be applicable to all schools under their jurisdiction. The proposal was reviewed at the school board’s study session Sept. 7, and is expected to be voted on in their meeting on the 15th.

“I don’t want this to just be seen as a sporting policy,” said Kirk McRae, a district representative. “This goes beyond that. It affects physical education classes, recess, and any school sponsored activity where a student could suffer a head injury.”

The new law requires parents or legal guardians to be informed of the policy. Before permitting a child to participate in a sporting event, the parent or legal guardian must sign the policy.

According to McRae, the policy would essentially let an athletic trainer or coach have the final say when there is a suspected head injury, taking responsibility out of the hands of parents. If the head injury meets symptoms listed in the policy, the athlete must be taken to an emergency care facility.

“We can’t take a chance when there are these symptoms,” said McRae.

When the new policy is enacted, it will be placed on the Board of Education website.

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting was Superintendent Steven Norton, who reported on the Cache school district’s annual report card, which shows how it stacks up with similar school districts nationally. Cache County school district rates in the 99th percentile for class size. Although they rank in the 10th percentile nationally in per-pupil spending, the district ranks in the 86th percentile for competitive test scores.

Also giving an annual report at the meeting was Teri Lewis, executive director of the Cache Education Foundation. The Cache Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that assists the school district by providing funds and resources from community and business members. The charity has donated more than $3 million since it was founded in 1988.

Although Lewis said fundraising has not reached the same levels it did last year, programs such as the Daniel Lynch Memorial Fund and Hats Off to Teachers continue to be successful. Tools for Schools, a program where teachers can apply for school supply grants, is one of the organization’s largest draws. This year it has garnered nearly $75,000 worth of funding, a large piece coming from the foundation’s annual golf tournament.

“We’re lucky to have generous business donors that support this program,” said Lewis. “It’s well deserved recognition.”


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