RFPRA Executive Director Richard Garland said Monday he’s been approached by concerned “football parents” and agrees there’s room for a policy improvement.
“In high school play all the players take a baseline test, and if they get a concussion they have to pass the baseline before they can come back,” he told the board at the final meeting of the year.
“We’re not at that level in recreational play, but we need a way to ensure if a child gets a head injury … it should be signed off by a doctor before they can play again,” he continued. “And this should apply to all of the sports, not just football.”
The RFPRA has a partnership with Advance Redmond that puts a certified athletic trainer at games, just in case. Advance Redmond is a joint venture between Advance Rehab and Redmond Regional Medical Center.
Garland said that came in handy when a boy got a concussion during a football game at Riverside Park. The coach and the child’s grandfather insisted he could still play, while Sports Manager Larry Powell had his doubts.
“Fortunately, the athletic trainer was right there to say it was her decision not to let him back in the game,” Garland said.
RFPRA board member Sam Sprewell, who is chief of operations for Floyd County Schools, said legislation is expected to address the issue in the upcoming Georgia General Assembly session.
“With all the movement in college and high school sports, it’s filtered down to the middle schools and recreation levels,” he said.
Sprewell said he’s been told there are plans to pre-file and fast-track a bill that will spell out the conditions under which an injured young player would be either benched or returned to play.
Other items on the RFPRA’s agenda for the coming year include possibly installing a “VIP pavilion” at Barron Stadium for special pre-game events.
“It would be a permanent structure for Rome High, Shorter (University), whoever is renting the facility,” Garland said.
He and RFPRA Chairman Jerry Lee are scheduled to meet early next year with Rome Mayor Evie McNiece and City Manager John Bennett to discuss potential sponsorships and other ways to offset the cost.
The RFPRA board unanimously voted Monday to return Lee to the chairmanship for 2013. Member Caroline Blalock was elected to serve as vice chair.