About six states are proposing new laws that would make restrictions on young athletes returning to play after head injuries tougher.  These laws are spawned by increasing attention being paid to the issue in the NFL.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, estimations for the number of sports and recreation related concussions in the United States goes up each year and now they’re estimating that almost 4 million people suffered concussions in 2009.  New laws created state legislatures look to lower that number to prevent further brain injuries after initial ones are sustained.

Our brain injury lawyers know that concussions are one of the leading sports related injuries in the United States.  Football players, especially, are vulnerable to getting concussions because of the high level of contact involved in the sport.  Younger football players are even more vulnerable because of their still developing brains which take longer to heal after a concussion.

Brain injuries are already tricky to diagnose.  A player may have just a headache a couple hours after or the following day after suffering a concussion, but that headache could be just the beginning.  That’s why head injuries need to be diagnosed with the proper testing such as an MRI to keep further brain injuries from happening.

Some states already have laws in place to protect young athletes.  In Washington, athletes under 18 who show concussion symptoms can’t play again until a licenced health care provider gives WRITTEN approval.  That law is the toughtest in the nation.  Other states like California and Pennsylvania have similar laws in the making.

Assemblymember Mary Hayashi wants California to have a similar requirement using two laws she wants passed:

  • One would require high school coaches to get trained on catastrophic injuries as well as first aid certification, which is already mandatory.
  • The other requires a player suspected of having a concussion to get written permission from a doctor before playing again.

New laws making their way through state legislatures put more responsibility on these coaches and medical staffs to give the final say on whether or not an athlete plays again (even though they’re supposed to be on the side of caution when deciding.)

Our brain injury attorneys want to appeal to parents who have young athletes for a moment.  If your child is suffering from concussion symptoms (headaches, dizziness, disorientation), wouldn’t you want the best care to be taken when it comes to preventing further injury?  Also, if your doctor says that your child is good to play, would you get a second opinion from another doctor, or better yet, a neuropsychologist?

When it comes to the human brain, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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