By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — Oklahoma state Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, presented a DVD entitled “The Smartest Team” at Monday’s board meeting for McAlester Public Schools. The DVD documents the efforts made by Newcastle High School to help minimize the risk of concussions for its athletes, particularly its football players.
The DVD teaches a six-step program for improving concussion education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Recommendations include: using pressure sensors in helmets to monitor for high-impact collisions; timing athletes reading a given script, then repeating the procedure after a big hit to see if the athlete slows down; and teaching tackling with the helmet up at all times.
Brooke de Lench, the Boston-based founder and publisher of the MomsTEAM.com youth sports blog, designed the program. McAlester Superintendent Marsha Gore said that after watching the DVD, she intended to purchase extra copies for McAlester’s athletic department.
Concussions haven’t been a particularly big problem at McAlester, with 20-year athletic trainer Mike Baker saying he rarely sees more than three in an entire school year. And when he has determined an athlete has suffered a concussion and needs to be removed from the game, Baker said McAlester’s coaches have always supported the decision.
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