Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation on Tuesday to protect young athletes by educating coaches of youth sports organizations, including schools, and requiring them to adopt a concussion awareness program, said sponsor Sen. John Proos.
“This is about emphasizing the seriousness of concussions, which impact the lives of thousands of young people each year,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph, in a press release. “We must help inform parents, coaches and athletes about concussions and what is in the athlete’s best interest. A concussion is difficult to identify, so it is critical to ensure athletes understand the gravity of this type of injury and that we set guidelines that err on the side of caution so that a child’s health is always put first.”
Public Acts 342 and 343 of 2012 require the creation of a concussion awareness program that includes training and distribution of educational materials for coaches, parents and athletes. A youth suspected of sustaining a concussion will be required to be immediately removed from activity and would not be able to return until he or she had been evaluated by a health professional and received written clearance to play.
“Research consistently has shown that concussions are a serious health threat to athletes,” Snyder said. “Coaches and parents need to be proactive in recognizing the signs of a concussion so we can protect injured children and teens from any further complications.”
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 140,000 high school athletes are estimated to suffer a concussion each year. Ohio State University data show that high school football has the highest rate of overall concussions at 6.94 per 10,000 athletes participating in school-sponsored activities from 2008-2011, followed by ice hockey at 6.11, boys’ lacrosse at 4.21 and girls’ soccer at 3.83.