An outstanding Pen Argyl Green Knights football season ended last Saturday in the PIAA Class AA quarterfinals. On Tuesday night the school board adopted two new policies designed to better treat future scholastic athletes in the Pen Argyl Area School District.
The measures focused on two injuries in particular: concussions and sudden cardiac arrests. The vote was 8-1 on both policies, with board member Ethan Habrial dissenting. The policies were based on the Safety in Youth Sports Act, signed by Gov. Corbett last year. That law makes certain requirements of Pennsylvania schools and the personnel who supervise student-athletes and the medical experts who treat players when they are injured.
Brain injuries have become a subject of great concern in football over the last few years when some former NFL players reported various brain diseases and disorders, likely from the devastating impact of repeated hits sustained over their careers. While much has been learned about the relationship between contact sports and brain injuries, there are still many more unanswered questions. The document approved Tuesday night requires that “all student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion must be evaluated and cleared by a licensed or certified health care provider trained in the management of concussions.”
And an athlete who suffers a concussion during a game must complete what is called a "five-phase return" to get back into competition. This return process includes gradually increasing non-impact aerobic and weightlifting activities until the athlete is permitted to participate in practices and then eventually play in games.
Coaches must also also complete a concussion management certification training course annually.
In other news, the school board completed their reorganization at the start of the meeting. Bryan Scott was renamed president of the board, while Robert Rutt was re-elected to the vice presidency.