Task force recommends changes to protect safety and health of middle school students who play interscholastic sports

The boys of North Marshall Middle
School of Benton, Ky., after winning
a Christmas tournament last year.

Beth Musgrave of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the state Task Force on Interscholastic Athletics at the Middle School Level announced its preliminary recommendations this week to address concerns about young athletes’ health and safety. It seems that middle school sports in Kentucky have never had the advantage of being governed by a unified code of rules and policies like their counterpart in high school sports. This has led to a confusing mish-mash of guidelines that the legislature is setting out to get right in the coming year.

Preliminary task force recommendations include requiring all middle school teams to follow high school rules on physical exams, medical coverage, concussions and practicing during extreme heat, and requiring the tracking of injuries and incidents for all sports. The task force also suggested that the Kentucky Board of Education look to create a single governing body, like the Kentucky High School Athletics Association that governs high school sports, to oversee all middle-school sports. Wilson Sears, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and a task force member, told Musgrave that the recommendations represent “real progress.”
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