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County ahead of the curve on concussion awareness [Commentary]

I applaud the recently held White House summit on traumatic brain injuries. The Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit brought concussions to the national consciousness, and triggered renewed research funding. It bears mentioning, though, that a similar summit was already held here in Howard County in 2007, featuring first-hand accounts from local high school athletes recounting their experiences after sustaining a blow to the head during competition. The seriousness of the blow to the head in sports was outlined, and the county school system implemented a concussion program, which is detailed in the Parent and Student handbook.

We don't have the level of funding that the White House summit has raised, nor do we have that kind of a pulpit. Still, a comprehensive study has been made and our school system has taken steps to lessen the number of concussions.

The bottom line is that our school system has been well aware of the dangers of concussions, particularly to the young athlete. We have been on top of this since 2007, well ahead of this latest White House summit and even the National Football League.

While summits like the one held at the White House are good, I fear that nothing substantive will come of them. Once the cameras leave and the press has written their stories, the matter is laid to rest and we move on as if the issue has been resolved until the next young athlete suffers a traumatic head injury. Where are we then? Thank goodness that our school system has taken action already and has been a leader in attempting to reduce concussions.

Columbia Triathlon scandal unresolved

I have written at length on the collapse of the Columbia Triathlon Association and the impending lawsuit against that organization's former CEO and his wife. I know what the allegations are, but they are just that until proven otherwise. However, if these allegations are proven true, a lot of questions will need to be answered. I am certainly not pleased with the sudden demise of the CTA, but I am not willing to rush to judgment on this one. I can only say that I have soured on triathlons after covering them since 1984.

New dog park opens

I was excited to hear about the recent opening of the Columbia Dog Park off Rivendell Road. I visited the new park and I must give kudos to the Columbia Association for building such a beautiful facility. The park was very nicely laid out and some of the people there told me how much they enjoyed taking their dogs there. Thirty-five dollars per year for residents and forty for non-residents is a great deal.

During my visit, I was reminded of the former softball diamond now occupied by the dog park. The annual Fourth of July softball game pitting the Elliot's Oak Nuts against the Hesperus Drive Wrecks had many memorable chapters. I have enjoyed so many wonderful memories on that field, which is unfortunately also a sad reminder of the loss of two old friends: Dave Fitzgibbons and the one and only Bob Russell. Every time I go to that park I swear I can still feel their presence. I miss Dave in his Tam o' Shanter and Bob with his baggy shorts serving as umpire and scorer at the same time. Moving to a new field will begin a new era, but it just won't be the same. Time moves on but memories remain forever.

Community Sports Hall of Fame seeks sponsor

Since 2005, the Community Sports Hall of Fame has recognized individuals who have made substantial contributions to community recreational programs in Howard County. This year, the committee will recognize a sponsor for the first time. Sponsors have played an important role in support of many recreational programs and many programs would not exist or would be severely diminished without them. So if you know a deserving sponsor, contact Howard County Recreation and Parks.

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