After Further Review: Cole Young 2/24

Cole Young

By Cole Young PrepsKC Senior Writer
Posted: February 24, 2016 - 1:32 PM

Baseline testing. Improved equipment. Concussion protocols.

Each of these steps toward handling head injuries has improved high school football and high school sports as a whole.

Now, the Kansas legislature is offering a move so regressive it could undo all the positive steps that have been made.

If a bill in the Kansas House was to become a law, football players who suffer a concussion could be cleared to return to the field by a chiropractor. Currently, the law both in Missouri and Kansas requires a player to be cleared by a medical doctor before returning to action.

As you probably suspect, this has been supported by the Kansas Chiropractor Association, while doctors are adamantly against it.

The association claims it benefits kids in rural areas where finding a doctor for treatment is harder to find. Simply put, that makes no sense. It’s as easy to find a doctor in a rural area as it is a chiropractor.

The bigger issue to me is this:
The goal of high school athletics from a holistic level is to create a well-rounded, healthy person. Wins are nice, but not at the risk of lifelong damage. Getting athletes back to the field faster should not be the priority.

Head injuries should be treated by doctors, not chiropractors. A back injury wouldn’t be treated by a podiatrist.

And for the aspect of rural areas not having as many doctors, I can’t help but think that if my child had a head injury and I lived in Cottonwood Falls or Smith Center, it’s worth driving an hour or two to verify they are healthy versus driving up the road to see a chiropractor to get cleared.

If the Kansas House truly had the best interest of athletes in mind, they’d help fund KSHSAA with third-party medical officials throughout Kansas who would provide medical clearance for concussed athletes at a discounted or free rate.