DEEP IMPACT: WCCS discusses importance of new rules

COLUMBIA CITY — Geoff Penrod, Columbia City High School athletic director, came before the Whitley County Consolidated School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees last week to talk about a new Indiana Code to the Concussion Law which will go into effect July 1 for grades nine through 12.Penrod said the 40-page document was broken down into six different areas. “It basically says we are going to require all our student athletes next year to be tested on the computer using FWO (Fort Wayne Orthosport) as the basis for this,” said Penrod.In the past year, Penrod said the FWO, who supplies a trainer at no cost, secured a grant that allowed the schools to supply computerized testing for athletes.“Basically, it’s answering questions, and it gives the doctor then a baseline to compare all future concussive events to the testing,” said Penrod.Penrod said it will be required of all coaches to become certified in dealing with concussions.“This is a class they take online, and once they’re done, they can apply for a certificate,” said Penrod. “Approximately 38 of our 62 coaches have already become certified.”Penrod said all coaches who need to be certified have received phone calls, and those who are not yet certified have until July 1 to complete the online class.Penrod reminded the board that oftentimes it does not take much for an athlete to get a concussion, especially in the more aggressive sports such as football, basketball and soccer.“This is not something we take lightly here,” said Penrod. “Concussions are very serious.”The problem with head injuries in athletics, particularly football, is being addressed on the national stage with schools like the University of North Carolina paving the way with new “collision-measuring” sensors installed into helmets. Currently, the National Football League has yet to adopt the technology.