Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Thirteen-year-old Keeling Pilaro, who played field hockey for years as a child in Ireland, is facing a rare struggle in school sports–he wants to continue to play the sport, which in the U.S. is generally played only by girls, but he has been told he can’t because he’s “too skilled.” MSNBC.com has more:
Keeling’s fight appears to be a rare example of a young man seeking to take advantage of Title IX, a 40-year-old law enacted to provide women equal access to athletic opportunities. There are no boys’ high school field hockey teams anywhere on Long Island, or, for that matter, in most of the country.
“It’s really annoying,” the eighth-grader said in a recent interview. “I’m just 4-foot-8 and 82 pounds, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t be allowed to play. I don’t really care if I’m on a girls’ team or a boys’ team, I just want to play.”
Southampton school administrators agree, but they don’t have the final say.
“The decision to support him represents our commitment to provide meaningful opportunities to each of our students,” Superintendent Dr. J. Richard Boyes said in a statement. “Our community, including the girls on our field hockey team, embraced Keeling Pilaro and we couldn’t be more proud of him.”
The problem, according to Edward Cinelli, the director of the organization that oversees high school athletics in Suffolk County, is that state education law won’t allow it. He cited a provision that says administrators are permitted to bar boys from girls’ teams if a boy’s participation “would have a significant adverse effect” on a girl’s opportunity to participate in interschool competition in that sport. Officials say Keeling’s skills are superior to the girls he plays against, creating an unfair advantage.
Image: Field hockey stick and ball, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, August 1st, 2011
The Boston Globe is reporting on new rules in Massachusetts aimed at protecting schoolchildren from potentially serious head injuries that can come on the football field or during other sports activities. An estimated 136,000 concussions occur in the course of high school sports each year in the United States, the article stated. The National Federation of State High School Associations has a training program specifically on concussions and head injuries, training coaches (who are then urged to train their student-athletes) to recognize slurred speech, confusion, nausea, fatigue, or dizziness as symptoms of a concussion.
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Under a law passed by the Legislature last year, everyone involved with school teams – coaches, volunteers, players, parents, and other officials – must be trained annually in how to recognize concussions and get the appropriate care for students who suffer one.
Any student suspected of having a concussion now must be removed from play immediately and cleared by a doctor before returning. The law also calls for students diagnosed with a concussion to have a written plan for gradually returning to both athletics and academics.
What exactly is a concussion? It is not a bruise on the brain. Nor does it involve swelling or bleeding. A concussion can occur when an athlete collides with another player, a goal post, or the ground, causing the brain to rattle or twist in the skull.
That prompts what is referred to as a “metabolic cascade,’’ a series of changes in which the brain’s nerve cells stop functioning as they should and blood flow is slowed. The process is not fully understood, in large part because researchers aren’t able to probe the brains of people who have suffered a concussion. And the effects are not visible on imaging tools, such as CT scans or MRIs.
If a person rests properly – meaning no physical activity beyond walking, and little cognitive activity – the brain can recover in almost all instances, said Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston University professor of neurosurgery who has been studying concussions and advocating for better prevention among athletes for decades.
But if a concussed athlete keeps playing and suffers further trauma to the head, the situation becomes very different.