Board of Education to Vote on Contracts to Establish Districtwide Concussion Testing

June 21, 2013

Contracts will include athletic trainers at some MCPS high schools

The Montgomery County Board of Education will vote on four contracts Monday to administer baseline testing to student athletes as part of an effort to improve awareness and treatment for concussions in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The baseline tests assist medical professionals in determining when a student athlete can return to play following a concussion.  

Last year, Superintendent of Schools Joshua P. Starr announced that MCPS was exploring a districtwide testing program and included funds for the program in his Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 operating budget recommendation. The final FY 2014 budget, approved by the Board earlier this month, includes funds for the testing program. 

A work group was established and, in March, MCPS requested proposals from vendors that could administer a baseline testing program. Dr. Starr is recommending that four vendors be awarded contracts to provide the testing: ATI Physical Therapy (4 schools), Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland (13 schools), MedStar Sports Medicine (6 schools), and Metro Orthopedics & Sports Therapy (2 schools). If approved, these contracts would be in effect for the 2013–2014 school year.

The total cost of the program will be $99,140, which includes $18,750 for the purchase of the computer software needed for implementation.

Baseline testing is an exam conducted during the preseason that assesses an athlete’s balance and brain function, including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solves problems. Results from baseline tests can be compared to baseline tests administered to an athlete suspected to have experienced a concussion. Healthcare professionals can use the results of these baseline tests as one measure in deciding when it is safe for a student to return to action. (Source: Centers for Disease Control).

MCPS already provides information to parents and student-athletes about concussions and head injuries, as well as ongoing training to coaches and athletic directors. Any athlete who is exhibiting concussion-related symptoms must be removed from a game immediately and cannot return to play until cleared by a medical professional.

In addition to the baseline testing program, three of the vendors have offered to provide varying degrees of athletic trainer services for the coming school year at no extra cost. The goal would be to determine the feasibility of using athletic trainers from outside vendors in the future.

The Montgomery County Board of Education meets on Monday, June 24, 2013, beginning at 5 p.m. Public items are expected to begin at 6:30 p.m. The concussion baseline testing program is on the consent agenda in the “
Contracts of $25,000 or More” section.

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