Local news reports have revealed that Georgia legislators are set to consider a new measure that is meant to encourage concussion education and help protect young athletes in the state from the serious damage caused by traumatic brain injuries.
The bill is known as the “Return to Play Act of 2013” and would require that all public and private schools develop a concussion policy for their student athletes. The bill would also mandate that local recreation leagues provide concussion information to those participating in their sports.
The measure is more than two years in the making according to the Georgia Concussion Coalition. The group, made up of doctors, parents and athletes has pushed for years for the legislature to take the issue of head injuries among student athletes seriously. One of the group’s co-chairs, Dr. Ken Mautner, a doctor with Emory, says that as the medical community has learned more about concussions over the years, it is high time for legislators to act to protect children from the harm that we now know concussions can cause. Mautner highlighted the long-term damage that multiple concussions lead to, including serious cognitive problems later in life.
The new legislation, House Bill 284, is not limited to contact sports like football, but will instead apply to all youth sports. It includes three main components. The first aspect of the legislation deals with educating players and their parents about the dangers posed by concussions. Too many parents don’t understand just how harmful a serious bump to the head can be and might not realize how carefully they should monitor their children after they’ve received a head injury.
The bill would also require that if a player has sustained a concussion, or is even suspected of having had a concussion, that player must be removed from game play. The athlete will only be allowed to return to the game once a physician has cleared them. This extra step prevents a possibly deadly condition known as Second Impact Syndrome, which can occur after even a small bump to the head causes brain swelling in young athletes. SIS can lead to debilitating brain trauma and even death in some cases, which is why it’s so critical that injured athletes not return to the field too soon.
It’s high time that Georgia legislators take up the issue of youth concussion injuries. A dramatic increase in medical information about the dangers of head injuries has lead all but six states to pass youth concussion legislation. Though Georgia legislators have not passed the bill yet, the Georgia Concussion Coalition is confident that recent high-profile news events, including the NFL concussion litigation, has prompted enough lawmakers to support the much needed measure.
Pope McGlamry P.C., currently represents former professional football players for injuries and damages sustained as a result of suffering concussions while playing football, and is actively involved in this litigation. If you or someone you love has been injured by a sports-related concussion, you may be entitled to compensation.
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