Working to reduce ‘life-altering’ concussions among student athletes
The state of Connecticut is working with parents and youth sports coaches to try to reduce problems with concussions among young athletes.
In 2013, 13.5% of high school students self-reported getting a concussion during sports.
Earlier this week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy visited a Connecticut high school to commemorate the enactment of legislation that requires the state Board of Education to develop a plan aimed at reducing the number of concussions and addressing the proper procedures following concussions experienced by students during school athletics.
Concussions must be reported to state
As mandated in Public Act 14-66, the concussion education plan will be used by local and regional boards of education, which will be responsible for implementing the plan using written materials, online training or videos, or in-person training.
In addition, the law requires school districts to annually collect and report all incidences of concussions to the State Board of Education.
“We want our students to achieve the highest levels of physical, behavioral and educational success,” Malloy said. “This bill will help ensure that parents, coaches and student athletes will all be better prepared to identify and respond to concussions.”
Immediate removal from game
The legislation requires that coaches immediately remove a student from participating in athletic activity when that student-athlete shows signs of a concussion or has been diagnosed with a concussion.
To return, the injured student must receive written clearance from a licensed healthcare professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.
‘Mom power’ was a factor
“Getting this legislation done is a direct result of ‘mom power,’” said state Rep. Diana Urban, co-chairman of the legislature’s Children’s Committee. “Three moms cared deeply about getting the best concussion law in place to protect our kids...They were with us every step of the way,” Urban said.
The mothers worked with Urban and state Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, the committee’s other co-chairman, to help pass the bill unanimously.
‘Serious, life-altering injuries’
"The law we passed this year will help coaches, parents, and athletes treat concussions like the serious, life-altering injuries they can be,” Bartolomeo said.
According to the Parents Concussion Coalition, “Connecticut's outdated concussion law needed to be updated to reflect the emerging science and best practices.”
During the event to highlight the law, Malloy was joined by students, lawmakers and advocates at Staples High School in Westport.
Advisory group established
An advisory group convened by the state Department of Education is working to update the existing training course that pertains to concussions to reflect current science. The course is required in order to receive a coaching permit for intramural or interscholastic sports.
The group — which includes representatives of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association, Connecticut State Medical Society, state Department of Public Health and Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association — will similarly update the refresher training course and annual review materials.
The group has solicited and received input from various stakeholders, including the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut, and the Parents’ Concussion Coalition.