As another season of high school football gets underway on Friday night across the state, a new law takes effect that gives coaches, parents, and student athletes a comprehensive guide on how to identify and manage concussions.
A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a jolt or bump to the head. Emergency rooms treat over 173,000 children and teens with sports and recreation-related concussions and other brain injuries every year.
"Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion, and can take even longer to recover than adults," said state Senator Dante Bartolomeo. "Even a single concussion can result in confusion, decline in memory, all of these things, for days following."
Last year Connecticut passed a law introduced by Bartolomeo that required the State Department of Education to come up with a concussion plan by the beginning of this school year. The law took effect on July 1.
The Concussion Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut Schools has comprehensive information on the signs and symptoms of a concussion, the risks posed by a concussion, and guidelines on medical treatment and when the concussed student athlete may safety return to play.
The law also requires student athletes and their parents or guardians to review a comprehensive document that outlines the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and then sign a consent form before being allowed to play.
"This is a really important part of the law. Very often you're not even seeing some of the signs of a concussion until after a student comes home," said Bartolomeo. "So it's really important that parents understand."
The law also requires all interscholastic and intramural coaches to take a concussion education course in order to receive their coaching permit. They will also be required to take a concussion refresher course every five years.