Nebraska lawmakers took steps in 2012 to protect young student-athletes from returning to the playing field too soon after concussions.
But many of the same studies on the dangers of reinjury also point to head trauma’s effects on the ability to think and learn while recovering, as The World-Herald’s Henry Cordes recently reported.
Concussions can cause problems that interfere with learning, such as headaches, memory difficulties and an inability to focus.
Over the past year, the Nebraska Department of Education has been piecing together a possible protocol for helping brain-injured students succeed when they return to the classroom.
State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha has offered Legislative Bill 782, which would require that Nebraska schools adopt such an academic protocol for brain-injured students. The bill’s emphasis on academic accommodations deserves a serious look from lawmakers.
LB 782 embraces the idea of academic help for brain-injured students while they recover. Individualized plans would help ease students back into classwork. Those plans would encourage needed breaks and manageable workloads. They could even break up testing into smaller pieces, similar to how some special-education students test.
Most importantly, the measure steps beyond the bounds of sports and puts the focus back where it belongs, on a student’s ability to learn. That’s why LB 782 should be considered and adopted.
It takes the same concern for protecting student-athletes from further injury and helps those injured students learn while they heal.