Press Release: Maryland Makes Recommendations To Strengthen Concussion Safety

Recommends Certain Practice Limitations

For Immediate Release Contact: Bill Reinhard, 410-767-0486

August 13, 2013

Maryland continues to add protections for student athletes, with a focus on improved concussion safety.

New recommendations from the Maryland State Department of Education, prompted by regulations adopted by the Maryland State Board of Education this spring, limit the number of contact practices in collision sports.  MSDE also recommends improved instruction by coaches in contact sports and defines interscholastic sports by types: collision, contact, limited contact, and non-contact.

Football and boy's lacrosse have been defined as collision sports, and the recommendations target those sports in particular. Coaches in both sports should place special emphasis on proper techniques for such activities as tackling or body checking.

In football, no live hitting is allowed until the sixth day of practice.  During the season, teams should limit live hitting drills and live game simulations to two practices per week.  In lacrosse, after the first play date, schools should be limited to a maximum of one full-contact practice per day.  In addition, there would be no live checking the day before a game.

"Student safety is our paramount concern, and our desire is to keep our athletes on the field and in the classroom," said State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery.  "These recommendations follow those put in place by leading college and university athletic organizations, and we believe they will work well in Maryland schools."

The recommendations were developed by the MSDE Concussion Implementation Advisory Panel, a group of leading medical professionals and athletic officials from systems and organizations across the State.  The panel was following up on a directive made by the State Board on May 21.

Recommendations From MSDE's Concussion Implementation Advisory Panel