Dr. Paul Berkner, medical director at Colby and president of the Maine Concussion Management Initiative (MCMI), talked to the Bangor Daily News about the implementation of a Maine state law that required school boards to develop concussion management policies by mid-2014, mandated training for coaches, athletic administrators, and other personnel in identifying and managing concussions, and required that students with concussions not return to a sport or school until cleared by an appropriate healthcare professional trained in concussion management.

According to Berkner, the law is being implemented, but “some schools are struggling to figure out how to put it in the context of their school. … Every school is learning from the ground up how to do this, and every school has its own challenges. Big schools have a lot of kids. Small schools may not have an athletic trainer or they may not have a school nurse there every day … .”

Berkner and other experts say the law is helping raise awareness of concussions and how to treat them.

“We have a coordinated statewide program around concussions and concussion management,” said Berkner. “I think we have a group of dedicated volunteers and a group of dedicated school administrators and healthcare professionals that are really taking the lead on this in the state of Maine. It’s one of the reasons why I love living in Maine, because we can get stuff done here.”