October.....

It's the time of year for every sports fan to just sit back, lick their chops and watch just about anything they want.

Major League Baseball playoffs still have Phillies fans hoping to move on, Yankees fans wondering what went wrong and Mets fans like myself trying to remember what it feels like to be in the post-season once again.

College football is getting into high gear as all eyes are on Penn State and Notre Dame this weekend to see whether the Nittany Lions can really solve their quarterback problems and to see if the Fighting Irish can win their fourth straight.

The NFL has shown us that the Eagles aren't really a "dream team" and that the Packers and Patriots just might be headed for the Super Bowl.

The NHL season just opened up and the Flyers showed us last night that goaltending just might be the key to send them to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

And last, but not least on the national level, sorry Sixers fans, but we still have to wonder if there will be an NBA season.

It's such a great time on the local level as high school sports seasons in golf and tennis are winding down with district tournament time. Field hockey, soccer, volleyball and cross country seasons are also nearing playoff or league tournament time and high school football season has hit the midpoint with some big games on tap this weekend.

Rivalry games take place at Marian and Northwestern and Northern Lehigh gets its first big test as it travels to the Slate Belt to take on unbeaten and highly-touted Pen Argyl on Saturday afternoon.

There's also plenty of action on the Knee-Hi football front and youth soccer fields for those mom's, dad's and grandparents who have siblings on that level.

After watching Michael Vick getting banged around in the early going and suffering a concussion, it didn't take long for the NFL's position on head injuries to come into the forefront. He had to pass quite a few tests to make it back to the playing field in one week.

To me, that's a good thing and a bill passed earlier this week in the Pennsylvania House should make it top priority on the local high school and hopefully booster club level also.

The House approved new rules to govern how coaches and parents handle concussions and traumatic brain injuries sustained by student athletes, requiring coaches to remove players from games if they show signs of such injuries.

Under the bill, the departments of Health and Education would develop guidelines to limit when injured students would be allowed to return to the playing field, and an appropriate doctor would have to sign off on the return.

Coaches would also be requited to undergo training and would give parents and student-athletes more information about the risks of brain injuries.

Covering games from the sidelines for years, I've witnessed many a player come off the field after getting his so called "bell run" and wonder to myself just how soon would he be able to get back on the field. The smart thing is for the coaches and trainers to make sure the players don't try to deny the hit and try to shake it off just to get back in the game.

Back in the old days, when concussions weren't taken as seriously, the thought on the sideline always seemed to be for the player to be told to suck it up and get back in the game, we'll check you out later.

Now, if the bill passes the Senate, coaches could be suspended or even banned from coaching if they get caught violating it.

On another note, you wonder where we're headed after reports out of Western Pennsylvania said a high school football player was in jail on $25,000 bail for charges of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct after he punched an assistant coach in the face after walking off the field.

Stay tuned.