Florida considers law that prevents head injuries in youth sports

As the month of March comes to an end, our Miami personal injury blog would like note that March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. We have previously discussed the growing concerns regarding the long-term risks of concussions in sports at the professional level as well as the high school level. For decades, sports players, coaches and trainers have been negligent to the fact that concussions can cause serious brain injuries, especially when a player endures multiple concussions.

However, the NFL and other professional associations have become more aware of the dangers of concussions and have changed rules to help prevent the number of concussions sustained during practices and games. More athletic associations are also becoming aware of the importance of properly treating concussions in order to prevent the long-term risk of serious brain injuries. Florida lawmakers are also taking the seriousness of concussions into consideration and may soon pass a bill that is designed to reduce and prevent the risk of long-term brain injuries in high school sports players.

Earlier this month, Florida subcommittees in the House and Senate passed a bill that would create a standard for all high school and youth athletic associations in the state to follow in order to properly manage head injuries sustained during sports. If Florida Legislature passes the bill, the standardized head-injury management could become state law.

The proposed bill suggests that only a physician can make the final determination of when an individual can return to playing sports after sustaining a concussion. Parents, players and coaches will no longer be able to make that determination. The bill would also require parents to sign consent forms acknowledging that they understand the long-term risks of concussions and the importance of properly treating their child’s head injury.

We will follow up this discussion next week with one student’s account of how a head-to-head collision from a soccer game has affected him.

Source:The Tampa Bay Tribune: “State legislators take aim at head injury standards in youth sports,” Mary Shedden, 21 Mar. 2011