NFL exercising influence to protect students

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Tomorrow evening, as you huddle around the big-screen TV to watch the Pats battle the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI, take a moment to cheer the National Football League for its work to promote legislation to help manage student athlete head injuries.

NFL Hall of Famer and former Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett was in Maine last week, shaking hands and raising support for LD 98, a resolve — not a law — “Directing the Commissioner of Education to Adopt a Policy Regarding Management of Head Injuries in Youth Sports.”

The resolve was carried over from the previous session, and would, if passed, provide guidelines for standard response to possible head injury in all Maine schools. It would also provide information for students and their parents and would protect student health by banning the student from participation in practice or games until he or she has been medically cleared to return.

According to the National Center for Sports Safety, 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries suffered by young people in this country result from participation in sports and other recreational activities.

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The risk of head injury to student athletes is real, and can be debilitating if not treated promptly and properly, so it makes sense to do what we can to ensure awareness among students, coaches and parents to prevent the possibility of life-altering injury.

This is especially important for football programs at the high school level, which account for the greatest number of concussion injuries, more than any other sport and more than college-level football programs.

Tippett makes a fitting advocate for this resolve because, according to data published in 2010 by the NCAA Catastrophic Injury Insurance Program, concussions are the second-most common injury in football and account for 42 percent of all concussion injuries.

The Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs unanimously recommended passage of LD 98 during a Jan. 25 work session. We urge the Legislature to protect Maine’s student athletes by supporting the measure.

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Today’s weather forecast predicts mostly sunny skies and temps reaching 28 degrees.

Perfect weather for snowshoeing.

So, dig out those wood or synthetic frames and lace them on for an LA Trails-hosted trek through Oak Hill Cemetery and Huston Farm Conservation Area, or for the Western Foothills Land Trust-hosted Mellie Dunham Shoe & String Festival in Norway.

LA Trails will host a second snowshoe event this evening in cooperation with Museum L-A, starting at 6 p.m. at Simard-Payne Memorial Park, for a full-moon trek along the Androscoggin River.

For more information about the LA Trails event, go to www.androscogginlandtrust.org.

For information on the Shoe & String Festival, including a schedule of events, go to wfltmaine.org.

Maine truly is a vacationland, so get out there and enjoy it.

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Cheers to Lewiston developer Gendron and Gendron for writing a $20,000 check to preserve a 22-acre area of the Lewiston landfill from harvest.

The city had planned to cut the trees from the site, anticipating $20,000 revenue for the work. The plot is just south of the second phase of the Gendron and Gendron business park, and the developer feared the harvest would diminish its property value.

So, in an act of self-preservation, the developer offered to pay the city the revenue it would have realized from the tree harvest.

This is a real win for taxpayers since the city gets the harvest revenue, plus the developer’s land value remains intact for assessing purposes. No drop in taxable value.

It was a good solution and a generous move by a local business.

jmeyer@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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