Some Pa. schools a step ahead of ‘concussion law’

    A Pennsylvania law intended to prevent head injuries among student athletes took effect this summer, right as athletic departments were getting ready for the fall sports season.

    But some schools are staying a step ahead.

    The big, immediate change is that this year, Pennsylvania’s coaches had to take a class on recognizing concussions.

    But a few years ago, a Cumberland County school implemented its own head-injury protocol.

    Cumberland Valley High School created a test to judge whether a player is ready to return to an activity after suffering a hit.

    Athletic Director Mike Craig says it’s a basic questionnaire students take at the beginning of a season to establish what their answers and reaction times are like when they’re healthy.

    “It takes the guesswork out of when the kid’s able to come back from a head injury after suffering a concussion and our athletic trainers do that,” Craig said.

    The “concussion law” also requires coaches to pull athletes out of play if they take a blow to the head.

    But schools are the only ones who can enforce it.

    The state Department of Health, required by the law to make information available to schools about head injuries, has no oversight over schools and the penalties they set for coaches who flout the new rules.

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