Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Schools now have stricter rules when it comes to allowing a student-athlete to return to the field after a suspected concussion. The Concussion Management and Awareness Act went into affect on Sunday.
Some key provisions of the New York State law include:
- Each school coach, physical education teacher, nurse, and athletic trainer will be required to take courses on concussion management
- Student-athletes suspected of having a mild traumatic brain injury are to be removed from all athletic activities immediately
- Students-athletes cannot resume athletic activity for at least 24 hours and not until they are evaluated by a physician
Some experts saw these as important steps for protecting kids from permanent brain damage.
According to experts like psychologist Dr. Don Brady, as many as 40% of kids prematurely return to play a sport after getting a concussion.
“Think of a concussion as a sprained brain,” explained Dr. Brady. “You don't ask someone who sprains their ankle to go out and see if their ankle's okay and run around the track a couple of times to see how much better it is. You tell them to rest, period. We don't do that with concussions.”
Dr. Brady says brain damage occurs when the brain ricochets in the skull after an impact.
“Basically, the brain is moving in the skull when the head is stopped,” said Dr. Brady. “The brain still moves within that skull.”
Dr. Brady says the effects of concussions can get worse with each consecutive concussion. Though school officials say that can be hard to explain to eager student-athletes.
“I was an athlete for many years, and I would never want to tell my coach that I was injured and wanted to come out of the game,” said Fayetteville-Manlius Director of Physical Education and Athletics Scott Sugar. “So, it's an educational piece that is an important topic. We need to take care of our students.”
Dr. Brady suggests there is more to be done. He says parents should be trained on recognizing concussion symptoms as well.
“I think it's real important for parents to become educated because realistically their son or daughter can go out into the athletic field and come back permanently brain damaged or dead,” said Brady. “And that's not an exaggeration, that's a fact.”
For information on recognizing concussion symptoms click here.
For Dr. Don Brady’s list of Sport-Related Concussions: Myths and Facts click here.
For more information on the Concussion Management and Awareness Act from the New York click here.