Starting September 1, 2011, NJ implements new state law requiring school districts to stress concussion prevention and make sure that injured athletes do not return to their sport until they have healed.
The legislation requires that:
- Every school district and charter and non-public school develop “a written policy describing the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussion and other head injuries sustained by interscholastic student-athletes.”
- All coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses and school/team physicians complete an Interscholastic Head Injury Safety Training Program by this school year.
- Any student-athlete who participates in an interscholastic sports program and is suspected of sustaining a concussion be removed immediately from competition or practice. The injured student will not be allowed to return to the sport until he or she has written clearance from a physician trained in concussion treatment and has completed the district’s graduated return-to-play protocol.
- A New Jersey Department of Education “Concussion and Head Injury” fact sheet be distributed to athletes, and the district obtain a signed acknowledgment from the student and his or her parent/guardian.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that emergency rooms annually treat 135,000 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children ages 5 to 18.
Any sport involving a high rate of movement and sudden stops can result in a concussion. Most — 80 percent to 90 percent — are considered mild, meaning the person did not lose consciousness, according to the CDC. But a mild concussion is a potentially serious injury that, if not treated properly, can result in brain damage, doctors emphasize.
The federal government is looking into ways to help families affected by brain injuries.The proposed federal legislation, if enacted, would create a national network of state centers of excellence to help students with sports-related injuries by providing information and resources for them and their families.
For more information on concussions and head injuries, the New Jersey law suggests visiting the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/concussions/sports/index.html or the NCAA’s website at www.ncaa.org/health-safety.
For full article see Jersey Schools Prepare To Implement New Concussion Law