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Ohio passes bill on youth athlete head injuries

Sport-related concussions have been a hot topic in the new recently. But while professional sports get a lot of attention on the issue, Ohio just passed a law that focuses on brain injuries in child athletes. The governor of Ohio just signed the bill into law that describes the new concussion rules for youths.

The law will go into effect next year and will be applied throughout the state. The legislation states that all youth athletes who show signs of concussion would require medical clearance before returning to the field. The law also says that coaches and referees working with the young athletes need to complete online training to learn about concussions and the symptoms of brain injuries. The hope is that these officials would then relay the information to parents of athletes

The ultimate goal of the legislation is to make youth athletics safer for the participants and awareness is one way to do this. Until this point, Ohio was a little behind the trend as one of only a few states that did not have so-called "back-to-play" rules for child athletes. The Ohio High School Athletic Association did enact guidelines on this mater two years ago and the new legislation reflects those guidelines.

The law extends the rules past high school and unto younger children. Children under the age of 15 face additional risk when it comes to head trauma because their brains are not yet fully developed. Young athletes also lack the muscle development as older participants.

Head injuries and spinal cord injuries are particularly dangerous because the symptoms are not always obvious but have very serious repercussions. The added rules and training may catch symptoms earlier and prevent long-lasting injuries. Additionally, with the new law in place, coaches and officials who chose to ignore the law may be liable for any injuries resulting as a result.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal Online, "Governor signs youth concussion rules into law," Cheryl Powel, Dec. 20, 2012

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