New York parents and their student athletes should be interested to know of a law that recently went into effect. As of July 1, students suffering from concussions or even just possible concussions will not be allowed back into a game. They will be prohibited from participating in the sport at all until they are without symptoms of possible brain injury for at least 24 hours.

Additionally, the law requires a student suffering a possible concussion to obtain written approval from a doctor and the school’s medical director before being allowed to continue playing

This law was enacted in New York in an effort to reduce the number of concussions and brain injuries in student athletes, regardless of the sport.

Those in support of the law say it not only requires stricter regulations when dealing with concussions, but also will enhance education on the topic. They argue it will force students and their parents to realize the seriousness of these injuries, making them think twice before allowing their child to return to the game.

Per the requirements of this new law, nurses, athletic trainers and physical education teachers at public schools will be required to obtain training in identifying these injuries. They must fulfill this requirement every two years. In addition, schools will have to include information about concussions on their websites and permission forms.

A concussion is more than just a hit to the head. It actually jolts the spinal cord or brain, sometimes resulting in a feeling of confusion, a brief loss of consciousness or a period of amnesia. In some cases, permanent brain damage and even death is possible.

Concussions and other brain injuries are more common in football than some think. According to statistics, approximately 175,000 patients under the age of 20 are treated for traumatic brain injuries resulting from sports and other recreational activities.

With statistics like that, it becomes apparent that better attention needs to be paid to this source of significant personal injury. The fate of our young generation and its members chances for enjoying the fullest lives possible may be at stake.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle, “New York’s new student-athlete concussion law takes effect,” Jessica Bakeman, July 3, 2012

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