It’s been just over two years since Alabama passed a law forbidding young athletes from continuing to play if a concussion is suspected.
Our Tuscaloosa brain injury lawyers know that the measure failed to receive a lot of publicity when it passed. In some areas, officials say it’s going to take time to spread the word.
There is no enforcement component of the law, but athletic facilities that fail to adhere may face a refusal of coverage by insurance companies. That certainly helps.
Alabama was one of 20 states to pass such a measure. It followed the mandate handed down by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, requiring physician clearance before a youth athlete is allowed to return to practice or the field. In the first year after that measure passed, local hospitals saw their youth concussion cases triple.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year, about 135,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18 are treated for sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries. That number is believed to have increased at least slightly with the passage of the latest law.
The requirements of the law are:
The law is applicable to a range of athletic programs, from peewee soccer to high school football.
Right now, we are in the midst of baseball season. As such the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a “Nine Innings of Baseball Safety” guideline sheet for parents and coaches.
Part of what is instructed is exactly what Alabama legislators have done: Pull kids suspected of having a concussion from play and bar them from returning without a physician’s OK. Other advice includes:
In addition to these preventative measures, it’s important for parents to recognize when a child might be suffering from a concussion. These injuries can be caused by even a mild blow to the head, and they won’t always result in a loss of consciousness. Symptoms include:
A child experiencing any of these symptoms following a blow to the head should be immediately seen by a doctor.
Nine Innings of Brain Safety in Baseball, Heads Up Baseball for Coaches and Parents, June 2013, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
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