SB 652 – New Law in Virginia about Concussions

This legislation requires the Board of Education to work with a number of stakeholders in Virginia to develop and distribute guidelines for school divisions to inform parents, coaches, and student-athletes about the risks of concussions.

In addition, school divisions would be required to provide student-athletes with information on an annual basis regarding concussions and the student-athlete’s parent or guardian would be required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt of such information.

Moreover, any student-athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game would be removed from competition immediately following the incident.  A student-athlete who has been removed from play, evaluated, and suspected to have a concussion or brain injury shall not return to play that same day nor until (i) evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider as determined by the Board of Education and (ii) in receipt of written clearance to return to play from such licensed health care provider.

The policies of the Board of Education shall become effective on July 1, 2011.

The bill received a unanimous vote from both the House and the Senate.

You can see the full legislative history here.

Planning Commission

I testified before the Fairfax County Planning Commission on Wednesday night after the Athletic Council meeting.  The hearing was about the long term development plan in Tysons.  My presentation dealt with putting fields on the top of buildings, parking decks, etc.

This is an issue that I have touched on before and even have a page dedicated to it here on this blog.

We need to start looking at these types of options – not only in Tysons but all over Fairfax.  When the county looks at building a parking deck at a VRE stop, letting a developer build a new town center, or considers renovations to a shopping center, serious consideration should be given to making athletic facilities part of the equation.

We are in desperate need of basketball courts, baseball/softball fields, and rectangular fields for football, lacrosse, soccer, field hockey, etc.  This option gives us a chance to meet the need and not have so many issues with buying land, parking, lights, etc.

West Springfield Little League Season Opener

What a great night.  I was honored to throw the first pitch out at the West Springfield Little League season opening ceremonies last night.  There was a great crowd along with Delegate Dave Albo and Supervisors Herrity and Cook.  It was a lot of fun to be with so many sport loving parents and kids under the lights at the fields on Byron Avenue.

Testifying at the Board of Supervisors

I testified last night at the Board of Supervisors budget hearing.  My focus was the proposed Park Authority budget cuts.  I addressed two issues.

First is the need not to cut upkeep and maintenance of high school athletic fields – especially baseball fields.  The schools have indicated to members of the Baseball Council that these cuts will require them to exclude baseball from the high school baseball fields.  Since the high schools have a majority of the 90 foot diamonds in Fairfax, this action would have a devastating impact on the baseball in Northern Virginia.  Total cost for the maintenance of these high school baseball fields is a little over $100,000 a year.

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Practice Under the Lights

I apologize that I haven’t written about Wednesday’s Athletic Council meeting yet.  I was waiting for the electronic version of the presentations but I am not sure when I will receive them.

My evening with the Athletic Council started with a meeting of the Practice Under the Lights Committee.

This committee started its work a while ago (long before I joined the Council).  The focus of the effort is getting the Park Authority to change Policy 402.  (Click here to see an earlier post about Policy 402)

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Mark Hyman's Until It Hurts Is Worth Reading

I just finished Mark Hyman’s Until It Hurts. It is a quick although sometimes disturbing read.  Almost 150 pages, the book takes a hard look at youth sports and the adults who often manage to screw it up.

While the whole book it worth reading, here are some interesting points:

Just 5.8 percent of high school football players, one in seventeen, will suit up for a college squad.  The odds are bleaker for men’s soccer (5.7 percent), baseball (5.6%), women’s basketball (3.1 percent) and men’s basketball (2.9percent).

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Policy 402 – Little Known Policy Has Major Impact

Policy 402 is one of those things that has a huge impact on athletic organizations and most people don’t know anything about it.  Here’s a copy you can view:  Policy 402

I first learned about Policy 402 when I objected to the fact that football teams could practice on grass fields under the lights and no other sports could.  This seemed very unfair to me.  So when I asked about the reasons that football teams were given this privilege, I was referred to Policy 402.

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Comprehensive Study on Benefits of Sports for Girls

The Women’s Sports Foundation published there report Her Life Depends on It II in December, 2009.  It is a great resource.  This from the Executive Summary:

The research compiled in our updated report strongly suggests that sport and physical activity provide conditions that help to ensure girls’ health and well-being. Some findings identified in this report relate to:

Breast Cancer Risk:  Based on the findings from 23 studies examining the effect of moderate and vigorous physical activity during adolescence on cancer risk, those who had the highest physical activity during adolescence and young adulthood were 20% less likely to get breast cancer later in life (Lagerros et al., 2004).

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Study on Sport and Teen Pregnany

The 1998 study Sport and Teen Pregnancy from the Women’s Sports Foundation found that girls who participated in sports experienced a number of benefits.  Among them:

1. Female Athletes Were Less Likely to Get Pregnant
Female athletes in the nationwide survey were less than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes (5% and 11%, respectively). Moreover, significantly reduced rates of pregnancy were found for the subsamples of African-American, Caucasian, and Latina/Hispanic female athletes.
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