One of my favorite titles that I hold is that of Football Mom! I love me some Friday Night Lights! My son started playing in middle school, and there’s talk of him continuing to play in college. He’s a lineman – he’s big and he hits and is hit hard. At the end of the school year, he receives his helmet that he’ll wear during summer practices/scrimmages/camps. Before the first game in the Fall, football booster club parents will clean up the helmets and put on the mascot decals. I love doing this. It also causes me pause when I see how dinged and dented his helmet already is — and it’s only been used during pre-season.
Thankfully, neither he or my daughter have experienced a head injury during sports. Yet. Which brings me to the point of this post…what will happen if they do suffer a head injury/concussion during play?
On Feb. 23, the KS House passed a bill – HB 2578 with a 70-53 vote – that amends who can write consent for a player to return to play after suffering a head injury. Who can now also consent? A chiropractor.
Now, I’m not knocking chiropractors by any means – they’re good folks to know and visit with. However, I completely agree with Rep. Wolfe and Rep. Bollier (a retired physician) in that chiropractors lack the sufficient medical expertise to properly treat and evaluate a head injury.
The amendment was not without heated discussion (per the KC Star):
Rep. John Whitmer, R-Wichita, dismissed the dispute as a “turf war between M.D.s and chiropractors.” He said he was persuaded to support the bill in committee by a high school football coach from western Kansas whose players have to drive to Wichita to find a physician “to sign a piece of paper.”
Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City, pushed back on that. She said it concerned more than just the signing of a piece of paper and that it was about having a doctor evaluate the student before letting them play again.
Another quote from the discussion, that makes me question why this bill was being reintroduced because I can see that it failed last year.
Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, the House Health chairman, said that just because chiropractors would have the ability to sign off on a student returning to the playing field doesn’t mean they would in every case.
So, why even introduce this piece of legislature again? Why are 70 legislators willing to put our kids at risk? What good can come of this? I did not see testimony from anyone outside of the House. I’m not sure when or if it came up for a formal debate with an “invite” sent out to the public. I know that my representative (AKA my opponent) didn’t seek input from experts in the community (high school coaches and athletic trainers, physicians) before he cast his YES vote…twice.
I believe the Kansas Chiropractors Association is the only organization (aside from 70 yes voters) who supports this bill (because obvious). The Kansas Medical Society and the Kansas Athletic Trainers Society oppose it. As do the head coach and athletic trainer of my son’s high school football team AND every parent that I’ve spoken to about this. You know, the people of the district that my opponent is supposed to be representing — so if he’s not reaching out to them, who is he going to for voting advice?