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Pennsylvania Bill Could Be Start Of Brain Injuries Legislation

As the National Football League and its former players face a potentially explosive court battle over the NFL’s alleged knowledge of concussion risks — and its refusal to educate or better protect players — the governor of Pennsylvania has signed into law the “Safety in Youth Sports Act,” which aims to better prevent serious brain injuries at the youth and collegiate levels while enforcing greater education of concussion risks.

The concussion news ever-flowing from the NFL has drastically raised the awareness of concussions and their life-threatening effects, and communities all across the country are making extra efforts to increase awareness and protections in place in youth sports.

As part of the new law, student-athletes will now be required to be pulled from play when they suffer a head injury, and medical clearance will be required before they can resume participation. Additionally, sports coaches can be penalized for failing to comply with the new rules and they will go through annual training.

And the Departments of Health and Education will need to post guidelines and other resources on their websites to better inform players, parents and coaches alike.

Concussions are all too common among children in the United States — about 135,000 children between ages 5 and 18 receive emergency room treatment for concussions and other head injuries every year.

Pennsylvania is far from the only state implementing laws to better protect athletes from head injuries. To date, 31 states have implemented some form of legislation to ramp up protections and increase awareness of the risks of serious head injuries.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “NFL concussion litigation sparks widespread changes on the field,” Jon Campisi, Dec. 4, 2012