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More protection for athletes with brain injuries?

Previous posts in this blog have discussed the prevalence of head trauma in athletes. It is a well-known issue yet, at times, it may feel like no one is doing anything to prevent the occurrence or increased severity of brain injuries in athletes. This may soon be changing in Ohio, as new legislation is proposing the removal of athletes who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries during games and practices.

The bill was unanimously approved by the state Senate on December 4. In addition, the state House approved it with an overwhelming majority the next day. Many people feel like it is time for the state to take charge and do something about the rash of sports-related head injuries plaguing children.

The legislation requires referees and coaches to remove players from practices and games if they are showing behaviors, signs or symptoms of a head injury or concussion. In addition, referees and coaches are required to undergo training so they are able to notice these symptoms.

Although the idea behind this proposal sounds good, unfortunately, schools will be able to follow their own rules when it comes to athletes returning to practices and games. However, the bill does mandate that an athlete can only return to these activities if a medical professional deems it acceptable.

Catastrophic injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, can be caused by any number of incidents outside of athletic events. In some cases, those who are suffering from a traumatic brain injury may be entitled to compensation or a settlement to help them work through the financial, emotional and physical ramifications of their injuries.

Source: Newark Advocate, "Athletes with head injuries protected," Benjamin Lanka, Dec. 11, 2012

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