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Voice of the People

Apr. 12, 2013 @ 12:03 AM

Bill helps protect student athletes

I write this letter to draw attention to a bill currently pending in the West Virginia Legislature. Senate Bill 336, relating to the management of concussions and head injuries in West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission high school or middle school student athletes, will require an individual suspected of having a concussion be removed from competition or practice immediately and not allowed to return to play until cleared by a health care professional.

The Centers for Disease Control reports an estimated 3.9 million concussions in sports and recreation each year. High school athletes who have been concussed are three times more likely to sustain another concussion in the same season. Continuing to play with concussion symptoms leaves the student athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury and/or death. There are 43 states in the U.S. that have laws relating to concussion management and six states, including West Virginia, have legislation pending before their governing bodies.

Therefore, in conjunction with the West Virginia Athletic Trainers' Association (WVATA), I strongly encourage legislators and all citizens of West Virginia to support SB 336 in order to provide maximum protection for West Virginia's student athletes.

Tom Belmaggio

Head athletic trainer

Marshall University


Wayne BOE should sue West Virginia

The clock is ticking on the modular units that house Kenova Elementary School.

In June 2011, the School Building Authority gave Wayne County $2 million to rent the units for 36 months contingent upon the requirement of the Wayne Board of Education having a plan in place for a school after the 36 months.

With 14 months to go, Wayne County has no plan. Instead of focusing on getting a new Kenova Elementary School, the BOE chose to propose a bond to benefit several schools and athletic fields.

With the failure of the bond and a change in superintendents as well as the board, the BOE still has no backup plan in place. Instead, the board is concentrating their efforts on creating two schools rather than securing a new school for Kenova.

The state of West Virginia closed Kenova Elementary School. There was no plan offered by the state to build a new school.

The School Building Authority, which entices counties who pass bond levies with money, has expressed its disappointment to the bond's failure and has not offered assistance to Kenova Elementary.

As the clock continues to click and the students at Kenova will soon be on the street, perhaps the Wayne County BOE should invest in a good lawyer and file suit against the state and SBA.

The requirement of a county board's efforts in school bond issues should not be a consideration when evaluating proposed building projects or special circumstances like the one at Kenova Elementary. After all, the state closed Kenova Elementary.

Rick Chaffin




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