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New Ohio law focuses on concussion in child athletes

Ohio is following the trend in other states and recently passed a law that is meant to protect young, child athletes with concussion injuries. The law addresses the recent spike in these injuries. Young athletes clocked more than twice as many sports-related brain injuries in emergency rooms in 2010 as they did in 2002.

The Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and other medical organizations agree with this new bill. The medical professionals state that because children's brains are still in the developmental states, they are extremely susceptible to the dangers of concussions and other brain injuries.

Under the new bill, coaches and referees are required to sideline a player from both games and practices if that player shows concussion-like symptoms. The player then needs to be cleared by a licensed medical profession before being able to play again. The healing process and recovery time is very important for developing brains. Every three years coaches and other officials working with student athletes will also have to attend a concussion education class.

The hope is that the law will give guidance to coaches and other officials in dealing with these injuries and situations. Previously, coaches only had to use their best judgment. Now they have to follow the law.

Both the Ohio House and Senate approved the bill and sent it over to the governor to sign.

The legislation is very important because of the difficulty in detecting brain injuries. Symptoms sometimes takes weeks to present and coaches, as well as parents of student athletes, should be on the lookout for these symptoms.

Coaches and referees who ignore concussion symptoms are putting the lives and health of children at risk, but now are also breaking the law. Student athletes who suffer additional damages because of an official's failure to follow the new legislation may be able to take legal action against the individual to recover money for the damages.

Source: The Plain Dealer, "Ohio lawmakers approve greater safeguards for child athletes who suffer concussions," Joe Guillen, Dec. 6, 2012

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