Athletic Director Responds to Legislation that Would Influence Concussion Policy

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. -- Youth sports programs that use public school property could soon be required to have concussion policies in place in order to use school gounds.

That's part of a plan that's advancing in the General Assembly.

An athletic program supervisor for Rockingham County Recreation talked about how this bill could change policies already in place.

Bart Bridges said they have to use public school fields and facilities for all of their games, since they don't have land to use in the county.

Bridges said there's a football handbook and an entire book dedicated to facts about concussion and brain injuries for coaches.

Players that have had concussions in football have been cleared to play again.

The department also has a video featuring students who have had concussions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At their games on Saturday mornings, they have EMT on standby.

If a player gets hit, they have to sit out the rest of the game and then they have to be checked out by a doctor.

Employees are working to make the manuals and handbooks available to everyone online by the fall football season.

They're also looking at getting new helmets, although their current helmets do meet football standards.

"We require every child in our office to come in and be fitted by an athletic technicians or myself to be properly fitted for a helmet and shoulder pads. That way we know they're getting the right size. And if they do have issues with the helmet, they can bring it back in and we can look at refitting them," Bridges said.

Bridges said they already follow what public schools are doing and the legislation would be a way to simply make sure that sports programs outside of school are handling concussions the correct way.

The measure to extend the concussion policy to sports programs outside of public schools has passed the Virginia Senate.

The House Education Committee voted 16 to five to endorse the bill.

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