Every high school coach of whom we are aware takes injuries, especially concussions, seriously. If there is any doubt concerning whether an athlete has suffered a concussion or other serious injury, the player is benched and professional help is sought.
Nevertheless, West Virginia Board of Education members were right to approve a new set of rules aimed at safeguarding student-athletes.
The new rules standardize procedures for recognizing injuries and put in place safeguards to prevent eager young men and women from getting back in action before they are healed.
Also included in the rules is a requirement serious injuries be reported to the state within 30 days. That may aid investigators looking into concussions suffered by athletes at all levels.
Specifically, the policy also requires schools to have written procedures for recognizing injuries. They also must have written policies on clearing athletes to play after they have been hurt. In many cases, licensed health care professionals must provide written releases.
If you doubt safeguarding high school athletes is important, consider what will happen this Sunday in Lost Creek, W.Va. There, a funeral will be held for Dylan Jeffries, 17.
Jeffries had been on the South Harrison High School football team. During a game on Sept. 27, he was standing on the sidelines when he suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where doctors operated to remove a blood clot from his brain.
He didn't survive.
So yes, the state board was right to establish new rules - that may save lives.