Kansas athletic trainers aim to keep student-athletes safe

Capitol Bureau
Soaring Soccer Injuries_221870

FILE – In this Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 file photo, students compete in a high school soccer game in Burgaw, N.C. A study released on Monday, Sept. 11, 2016 found soccer injuries are sending increasing numbers of U.S. youth to emergency rooms, a trend driven partly by young players with concussions seeking urgent medical care. […]

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Cassandra Arrington, a senior at the University of Kansas from Yorba Linda, Calif., has suffered from three concussions. Two of them were from playing competitive soccer in high school.

Arrington was so determined to return to playing soccer after the concussions, that she endured the pain of the symptoms instead of taking time to recuperate.

“I kept having to get pulled out of school in the morning because my headaches were so bad and I was crying in class,” Arrington said. “There was nothing I could do to help it.”

The Kansas Athletic Trainers’ Society is hoping to update Kansas’ current concussion laws to help student-athletes such as Arrington.

The Society gathered on Tuesday at the Capitol to speak with legislators about House Bill 2574.

“If we don’t recognize that students are struggling in middle school academically with a concussion, how are they going to be successful at the high school level?” said Rich Bomgardner, a human performance studies assistant professor at Wichita State University.

The bill would update the current concussion law to focus equally on students returning to the classroom, as well as the sport. The academic side is lacking in the current law, which only focused on the athletic side.

Karen Garrison, president of the Society, said this can be done by implementing a team of school faculty who will work with the student until they are fully ready to return to the traditional classroom setting.

“We can make sure that those students who do sustain concussions, that they’re protected, that they get healthy, and that they don’t have lifelong issues from those concussions,” Garrison said.

The bill, if passed, would create policies that schools must follow in place of recommendations that are not currently being followed, Garrison said.

The bill has not been heard by the House or Senate yet, but if passed would replace the current concussion laws that have been established since 2011.

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