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Letters to Editor: Improve concussion safety in high school sports

I couldn’t agree more with the Chicago Sun-Times  Editorial Board’s view of the need for increased concussion safety in high school sports, but young football players aren’t the only ones at risk.

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About 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions every year.  While many of those are in the sport of football, an increasing amount are being reported in basketball, soccer, hockey, etc. We need strong concussion safety standards throughout athletic departments, not just on the football field.

Last week, I introduced a bill — the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act — that would establish national minimum standards for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing in K-12 schools. The NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and NCAA have all endorsed it.

Though Illinois has been a leader in concussion safety, my bill goes one step further to mandate a “when in doubt, sit out” policy that prohibits students suspected of sustaining a concussion from returning to play that same day under any circumstances.

This policy is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine and seconded by the American Academy of Neurology. I think it’s a policy that every parent in our state can support. In fact, the Illinois High School Association recently lent their support to my bill, but they don’t have to wait for it to pass, as this paper’s editorial board pointed out.

No one game or practice should harm a child’s long-term health and well-being.  We can and should take these commonsense steps today.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

Looming CPS storm

The Chicago Public School system seems as doomed as the Titanic or the Lusitania. On his part, Gov. Bruce Rauner thinks that bankruptcy will allow the CPS to steer away from icebergs, or offer protection against torpedoes.

Over the past week, we have further learned that CEO Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett is being investigated by the FBI concerning possible improprieties connected to a $20 million contract. And in Sunday’s paper (“Reading, Writing, and Red Ink,”), we have been shown, in debt-swapping detail, the financial maelstrom the CPS is mired in.

I have a feeling, however, that the real storm the CPS will soon face will break when the results of the PARCC exam are released. To me, much that has been written about the exam (especially from the perspective of the teachers) has been subtly preparing us for the worst, with any future blame for poor performance attached to the exam itself. (Of course, it has to be the exam, it couldn’t be the fault of the teachers or the students!)

When the test results are dropped on us, we’ll be forced to look at what we’ve been spending on the CPS, and what we’ve gotten in return, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel will have to decide whether or not to scuttle that ship.

John Vukmirovich, Hyde Park

Incomplete belief

Monday’s Sun-Times/USA Today report on same-sex marriage quoted a mechanic who said, “I still believe what the Bible says, ‘one man one woman.’ ’’ But that belief is incomplete. The Bible also says that Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and many others had multiple wives often with sexual access to handmaids, slave girls and concubines. Compared with what the Bible permits, belief in marriage equality is pretty tame.

Bob Barth, Edgewater

Earth Day apprciation

April 22 is Earth Day and an occasion to appreciate ardent environmentalists, ecologists, wildlife conservationists, marine biologists, arborists, endangered species preservationists, nature stewards, vegetarian advocates and green activists.
Brien Comerford, Glenview