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Md. School Board Passes Emergency Youth-Athlete Concussion Rules

The Maryland State Board of Education approved emergency regulations Tuesday that require all school coaches to be trained in the next five weeks on how to recognize and respond to student-athlete concussions.

By August 31, the state school board will require all districts to have trained coaches in the identification of concussion symptoms and the return-to-play guidelines established by a state law passed last year. Districts will also be accountable for ensuring that all student-athletes and their parents or guardians receive information about the dangerof concussions, before allowing the student-athletes to participate in school sports.

Under the emergency regulations, any student-athlete suspected of having suffered a concussion or other brain injury must be immediately removed from play. A licensed health-care provider authorized to provide sports physicals must clear any athlete in this situation before they're allowed to return to the field.

Edward Sparks, the head of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, told The Baltimore Sun that the school board's regulations mirror guidelines implemented by his organization after the passage of last year's youth-concussion state law. State board members "wanted a regulation in place for the start of the 2012-13 school year" due to the spotlight that youth-athlete concussions have been under in recent years, according to a statement from the board.

These regulations will be in place for the next 180 days, during which time the state board will work to develop permanent regulations regarding youth-athlete concussions. The public will have a chance for input before the board's regulations become final.

The state board initially announced last month that it would form a group to study student-athlete concussion prevention, according to the Sun.

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