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Best way to diagnose concussions an ongoing issue

Special Olympics

I once had a briefing about the use of something called Brain Sentry, which is a small device placed on the back of football helmets to signal the possibility of a concussion. If a light on the Sentry signaled red after a blow, the player was removed from the field and kept out of the game with a possible concussion.

I thought at the time, that anything that could reduce the number of concussions seemed like it was worth trying. Well apparently some school systems, including our own, are not willing yet to allow the Brain Sentry to be used without further testing and without further review.

I saw over the weekend that the administration of Loudon Valley High School in Virginia did not allow their football players to use them, and that decision has become a contentious issue between the school administration and the parents of the school's booster club there.

The parents went so far as to initially defy the school administration by putting the Brain Sentry on the players themselves before a practice. A school vice principal went onto the field and told their coaches to remove the Brain Sentry before they could continue practice. The parents relented, but are determined to take the matter to the school board.

My first thought was that if it prevents or reduces concussions, why not use the device? After all, Brain Sentry is currently being used by some colleges now and in the Arena Football League.

However, there are concerns about false readings, and possible liability and marketing issues. And what happens if a team wants to get rid of the other team's best players and purposely hits the player in the head just to get the device to register red? Sounds silly, but apparently there are enough unknown issues here that at least one school system is not willing to take on. I am certain that many school systems will be watching the end result on this one.

Special Olympics awards

I missed the volunteer awards recently presented by the Special Olympics Howard County so I want to retrace my steps and make sure that these volunteers are recognized. Long Reach High School senior Swinita Shah was named the Jackie Burk Memorial Scholarship winner of $1,500 for her work as a volunteer in bowling, tennis, basketball, athletics and equestrian. Karis Crone was this year's runner up and she will receive a $500 scholarship.

The Allan Homes Scholarship of $1,000 went to Centennial High School senior Alissa Ling, a volunteer and Unified Partner in the aquatics program. Also from Centennial High School, Meghan Lanehart was the runner up and received as $500 scholarship as a volunteer and Unified Partner with acqautics. Kali Taylor, from Marriots Ridge High School, received a $500 scholarship as a runner up.

The Kathy Lindner Scholarship was awarded to Madeline Luoma, a volunteer for seven years with bowling and aquatics as well as with the Motor Activities Training Program at Cedar Lane School.

Tennis ceremony

Many organizations recognize those who have contributed to their organization through scholarship or some other means, However, too many say goodbye and that's it, leaving their names and contributions known only to family and close friends.

That is not so with the tennis community here. Last Saturday, the Hobbits Glen Tennis Club recognized four departed individuals in the community by dedicating four benches with plaques to Peter Finck, Brad Fields, Al Adamson and Brenda DeCesare. There were some very effective speeches made on behalf of the four—Milt Klein for Peter Finck, Mike Eckhaus for Brad Fields, David McAdoo for Al Adamson and Jerry Boyer for Brenda DeCesare.

At the conclusion, Lillian Fields, the widow of Brad Fields, made an impassioned talk in honor of her husband and read a letter written by one of Brad's grandchildren.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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