Many parents are concerned about their children playing high impact sports, such as football and soccer. Recent studies have linked long-term brain injury to concussions received during childhood while playing sports. However, many parents attest to the benefits of playing team sports, such as building character and camaraderie. To help protect children, in July 2012 Indiana joined 48 other states by passing a concussion prevention law. Here’s how this legislation can protect your young ones.
Effects of the Law
The concussion prevention law mandates that middle and high school students, parents and coaches receive training on recognizing the symptoms and treating concussions each year. Additionally, if a concussion is suspected, the student must be pulled from the game and he or she cannot return before being cleared by a medical professional.
Catalysts of Legislation
Washington took the lead in passing what it called the “Lystedt Law” in 2009. It was named after Zackery Lystedt, a 13-year-old who received a permanent brain injury due to a concussion he suffered while playing middle school football. A concussion can result from a blow to the head or by violent shaking. Pediatricians theorize that, because the brains of children are still developing, adolescents are more susceptible to traumatic brain injury.
Additionally, professional football has also been forced to admit the danger. This past summer the NFL settled a class-action lawsuit involving 4,500 players. The plaintiffs accused the NFL of hiding information about the long-term effects of concussions and failing to protect players, resulting in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
What You Can Do
If your child plays team sports, ask about preventative measures. The Indiana High School Athletic Association has already implemented similar policies. However, this legislation provides even stronger incentive to enforce those guidelines. If you suspect your child has experienced a concussion, seek medical attention and document the findings. If you feel negligence was a factor, talk to a personal injury attorney about steps you should take to protect your child and his or her teammates. The Ken Nunn Law Office is a group of experienced Indianapolis injury attorneys ready to advocate on your behalf. Contact us for a free consultation.