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Md. bill would suspend coaches who play concussed athletes

Maryland legislators are considering a bill that would suspend coaches who put players back on the field after they have suffered an apparent concussion.

HeadInjuriesDetails of the legislation were released last week, and many groups have already voiced opposition to the measure. In 2011, Maryland approved a law that requires players to be cleared by a medical doctor before returning to play. The latest proposal builds on that, suspending coaches for the entire season the first time they return a concussed player to action too soon. A third offense would result in a permanent ban from coaching.

The Maryland Athletic Trainers Association and Brain Injury Association of Maryland would not lend their support to the bill. Many opponents believe it would be more effective to educate coaches about concussions or put more athletic trainers in schools. Only around 60 percent of Maryland schools have athletic trainers.

From WTOP.com:

Coaches can be put in a situation where they are urged to keep certain players in games even when they have suffered head injuries, said Dr. Tim Romanoski, who specializes in primary care sports medicine and works at Centreville Family Medicine in Centreville, Md.

“Many times we have parents pushing coaches to push their star athletes back into the field due to scholarships,” Romanoski said.

Robert Graw Jr., CEO and medical director for HeadFirst, a sports-injury concussion care center, said that the punishments in the bill are appropriate, but only if coaches have training geared toward spotting head injuries.

“They (legislators) should write in the bill that a school board needs to have a rigorous educational policy,” Graw said Thursday in a phone interview.

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