Thousands of young people each year are impacted by concussions, which is why I am proud Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed my legislation to protect young athletes.
The laws set guidelines on when an injured child can return to play and create a concussion awareness program that includes training and distributing education materials to coaches, parents and athletes.
A concussion is difficult to identify, so it is critical that coaches and parents can recognize the symptoms and know what steps to take if an injury occurs. Many concussions go unreported, so it is also crucial that we teach our young athletes about the seriousness of brain injuries.
More than 140,000 high school athletes are estimated to suffer a concussion each year, and the National Football League is leading an effort to get similar legislation passed in all 50 states and Congress.
I specifically want to thank Detroit Lions team president Tom Lewand for his leadership and assistance.
While high school football had the highest rate of concussions at 6.94 per 10,000 athletes in school-sponsored activities from 2008-2011, girls’ soccer wasn’t far behind, ranking fourth with a rate of 3.83.
Southwest Michigan Select Soccer Club Coach Tareck Halsey, his son and my daughter all joined me at the bill signing. They are a reminder that youth concussions can occur in a variety of sports and activities.
In fact, accidents while bicycling and playing on the playground rank first and third in the most number of brain injury emergency room visits.
As a father of three children, each involved in multiple sports and activities, my goal remains ensuring that the health of our young athletes is always the top priority.