Lawmaker wants DOE to standardize concussion evaluation

Lawmaker wants DOE to standardized concussion evaluation

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the parent of a student-athlete, Jeremy Ancheta knows the dangers of concussions.

"One of my son's teammates is actually out for the remainder of the season," Ancheta said.

More than 600 high school student athletes statewide suffered from a concussion between August and November of last year. Football, cheerleading, and girls volleyball caused the most injuries.

State Representative Cynthia Thielen is introducing a measure that would require the Department of Education to come up with a specific timeline for athletic trainers to evaluate a student who recently suffered a concussion.

"When you have a concussed student-athlete, the Department of Education should be making learning modifications right away because otherwise they'll struggle academically and fall behind," Thielen said.

She acknowledges the DOE already has a concussion protocol in place, but says more needs to be done.

"Okay Department of Education, you've done part of it, but now let's set up the timeline" Thielen said.

Education officials say they already have strict rules and protocols in place to protect their student-athletes.

"If she's looking at a specific timeline, know that every student will suffer a concussion differently and that's why we pay attention to the signs," DOE Communications Director Donalyn Dela Cruz said.

When dealing with a concussed student-athlete, the DOE says everyone on campus is on the same page.

"They take a look at the situation - Does this student need a break? How much work are they doing? And everyone knows about it, so then there's a reporting back to the principal, to the coaches, to the health trainers, and they're constantly on watch on that student," Dela Cruz added.

Nathan Murata from the Hawaii Concussion Awareness Management Program says he believes Hawaii is actually leading the nation in supporting initiatives that protect students from concussions.

"We're the only state in the union that has athletic trainers assigned to all our public schools so that's been a big help," Murata said.

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