Support from both sides of the Minnesota Legislature has emerged for a proposal that would regulate concussion management for young athletes. The requirement mimics provisions already in place for NCAA athletes and is essential for younger athletes as well.
The proposal would require a qualified professional to clear any athlete with a concussion before he or she is allowed to return to the field. It also focuses on concussion education for parents, coaches and athletes.
This legislation will have many benefits. Young athletes will be able to avoid traumatic brain injuries. It costs the state nothing. It will create a protocol for concussion management so there will be minimal liability issues for coaches.
One of the University of MinnesotaâÄôs athletic trainers, Chris Ashton, is involved in supporting the provision. Ashton points out that concussions are âÄúhidden injuriesâÄù âÄî there are no casts or crutches associated with them.
As many as 40 percent of young athletes resume playing before guidelines suggest they should because of pressure from teammates and misinformation about concussion symptoms.
This legislation will eliminate any gray area for coaches, parents, and players. Athletes will not return to activity until a qualified professional verifies that they are ready.
Young brains healing from a concussion are more vulnerable to serious side effects from a second concussion such as long-term problems with learning, moving, and speaking. Proper concussion management will prevent such injuries in athletes.
This legislation will prevent injuries and raise awareness about the dangers of concussions. It must pass to better protect young athletes.