PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A local lawmaker wants the state to do more to protect high school athletes.
State Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, is co-sponsoring House Bill 200 which requires all injured athletes to be evaluated by a medical professional before they are returned to the field of play.
To ensure that happens, all coaches must be trained yearly in concussion procedures and will be suspended if they don’t follow them.
Right now, those procedures are up to the individual school districts.
“There needs to be uniformity,” Frankel said. “We need to be protecting every high school and younger athlete in this state.”
The WPIAL says most coaches already follow that protocol, but there are also other precautions not spelled out in the bill. They include something called baseline testing which measures an athlete’s ability to remember and not letting him play until they can match or exceed that baseline score.
“If it’s an effective tool in minimizing risk, minimizing putting a kid back into competition before they’re able to do that, I think it should in fact be available to everybody that plays,” Frankel said.
Many districts now require baseline testing and Frankel says going forward, even poorer school districts should be provided funding to test their kids as well.
“When you’re dealing with health and long-term health of a young person, there’s just no way you can be talking about the costs,” he said.
There is a bill in the House and in the Senate.
Similar measures failed last term, but Frankel and others say these should become law before the end of the year.