New Castle News

Laurel

February 22, 2013

High School Sports: Local woman heads state concussion program

NEW CASTLE — A Lawrence County woman has taken the lead in helping Pennsylvania school personnel evaluate and assist students with concussions.

Brenda Eagan Brown, a Laurel High School graduate, is the state coordinator for BrainSTEPS, a program that unveiled “Concussion Return to School Protocol” with the state Department of Education. She enhanced the system by creating school-based academic Concussion Management Teams.

“We are the first state to do anything so systematically and on such a large scale,” she said.

Some 149 of Pennsylvania’s 501 schools districts have responded, including five in Lawrence County. “I thought if we set up 50 teams, it would be great, but we ended up with 360,” Brown said.

Wilmington and Ellwood City have four concussion management teams each while Shenango has three. Union and the Lawrence County Career and Technical Center have one each.

“It’s great to see local schools involved,” said Brown, a graduate of Laurel High School. “We saw a need for returning to school issues that weren’t just focussed on returning to sports.”

CMTs will support students returning to the demands of school while promoting recovery. They will partner with BrainSTEPS consulting teams that span the state, based in the educational intermediate units. The BrainSTEPS infrastructure is available to schools as a second layer of more intensive student concussion support, consultation and training, for students who do not recover in the typical four week trajectory.

CMT training was held at 25 sites across the Commonwealth.

Each CMT is made up of three persons, headed by a supervisor, usually a superintendent, principal or special education director. There are two monitors — one academic, usually a school psychologist or guidance counselor; and a symptom monitor, usually a school nurse. They agree to manage student recovery for the initial four weeks.

TAKING CHARGE

Julie Hudak, a school nurse for the past eight years, is part of the CMTs at Shenango. She said the number of concussions in the school system each years numbers from a few to a half dozen.

Joe McCormick, principal Shenango High School, endorses the program.

“Because research is catching up and the medical field is learning a lot more about how to help kids heal,” he said. “We’re making academic accomodations, allowing concussed students to come back to school a few hours at a time until they are able to to attend a full day.”

Dave Nerti, principal at Union High School, attended the recent CMT session along with a school nurse and school psychologist.

Nerti said Union teachers are on board with the protocol. “Many of them have dealt with concussions and they understand.”

Nerti knows about the dangers first hand, having suffered sports-related concussions in high school and college. “I was still dazed when I went back to school,” he said.

He said there is a need to monitor concussed students and determine their capabilities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Laurel
  • Laurel Class of ’74 to hold reunion

    Members of Laurel High School’s Class of 1974 will celebrate their 40th anniversary this summer.

    April 11, 2014

  • Laurel OKs positions

    The Laurel School Board approved the employment of three instructors for additional duties this week.

    April 9, 2014

  • Cooper.tiff Laurel hires Cooper as new football coach

    Laurel High has found its man. Brian Cooper replaces Pat Cuba at the helm of the Spartans football program. Cuba resigned last month after leading the Spartans to a 7-3 record and the program’s first playoff appearance since 2009.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Forbes appointed to Laurel board

    Blaine Forbes has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the Laurel School Board. Forbes, who previously served on the board, was approved Monday by a unanimous vote of the eight board members.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grace.tiff Teen battling kidney disease hopes to help other youths with chronic conditions

    Patti Colbert was standing in a local pediatrician’s office Sept. 11, 2008, when she got the words no mother wants to hear. “Do you know how to get to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh?” the doctor asked, a solemn look on his face.

    March 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 03.jpg Photos, Story, Cast List: Laurel to present ‘West Side Story’

    When musicals are timeless, audiences keep coming. The tale of “West Side Story” stays modern decade after decade. And this year, talented young people tackle a show that reaches new depths of emotion while showcasing songs that are American classics and choreography that is quite involved for a high school group.

    March 19, 2014 9 Photos

  • Laurel school board seeking member

    The Laurel School District is accepting applications from residents to fill a school board vacancy. The deadline to submit applications is at 4 p.m. tomorrow at the district office at 2497 Harlansburg Road.

    March 19, 2014

  • Laurel OKs family leave for teacher

    The Laurel School Board has approved a family medical leave for secondary teacher Nicole Pauline.

    March 17, 2014

  • Grade-schoolers to compete in archery

    Students from three local elementary schools will compete in a student archery tournament hosted by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

    March 2, 2014

  • school.jpg Our Opinion: Giving Laurel teachers free tuition is inherently unfair

    Whenever government hands out perks to its own, red flags are raised. And arguments that they cost taxpayers nothing can ring a little hollow.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

When will you start mowing your grass?

Been there, done that
Probably this week
Not until May
You mean, when will I HIRE someone to mow my grass?
     View Results