As the fall approaches it means two things. Back to school and back to football. But football won’t be the same in Missouri. On July 13, Gov. Jay Nixon signed the Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act, which is better known as the Missouri Concussions Bill.
According to May 3, 2011, from St. Louis TV station KMOX, “The Missouri legislation bill requires youth athletes to be removed from games or practices if they appear to have a concussion or brain injury. To return, athletes would need clearance from a health care provider who has training in evaluating and treating concussions.” The bill also requires health officials, such as a nurse or pediatrician, along with athletic and the school officials to come up with guidelines and a plan to prevent these injuries before the season officially starts. Also, players and parents will have to sign a document and state previous injuries that they have had.
According to the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, student athletes, from 5- to 18-years-old, suffer about 135,000 sports and recreation related concussions each year.
Former Rams player Mike Jones told the Associated Press, “It was important for young athletes and their parents to understand the seriousness of concussions and to keep players who have concussions off the field until they have fully recovered.”
“I love that the bill is now passed,” says Orlando Carzer, a varsity guard and tackle for Vashon High School in St. Louis. “I had an older brother that played football and got a concussion, but wanted to play in the districts. He got hurt so he couldn’t move on to playoffs.”
Research shows that adolescents and children take longer to recover from concussions than adults,” according to sportsconcussions.org, a website that informs athletics about concussions. There is no certain time to determine when a person will recover from a concussion. Every person is different.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that some symptoms of a brain concussion include difficulty in thinking clearly, having slower thoughts, dizziness, tiredness, trouble standing, sadness, irritability, and sleeping more than usual.
In an interview with USA Today, Dr. Micky Collins, director of the University of Pittsburgh of Health and Science and an expert on sports concussions, says, “The athlete needs to be completely symptom-free at rest. Not having headaches, not having dizziness when they stand up quickly, not having fatigue or sensitivity to light or noise or difficulty thinking or mood changes.”
Its very important for recovery because, as medical sites warn, there is a period of change in brain function that may last anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days. During this time, the brain may be vulnerable to more severe or permanent injury. If the athlete sustains a second concussion during this time, the risk of permanent brain injury increases.
The National Football League is supporting similar concussion bills in state capitals across the country and backing federal legislation, according to sportingnews.com.
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