How does Florida’s youth concussion law prevent brain injuries?

Just the sound of the phrase “traumatic brain injury” often conjures up graphic images of war veterans or victims of motorcycle accidents. What many people don’t realize is that a concussion is also a form of TBI. According to the Mayo Clinic, a concussion usually occurs when a person receives a sudden blow to his or her head. Generally, that motion causes the brain to actually bounce against the interior of the skull, which can cause bruising of the brain. However, a person can also suffer a concussion as a result of being violently shaken around his or her upper body or head area.

Beginning back in 2011, Florida safety officials and legislators realized that children engaged in sporting activities were at an increased risk of experiencing concussions than other segments of the population. One of the reasons for that vulnerability is because the brains of younger people are still forming in many cases. Therefore, brain damage suffered by younger people has a greater chance of hindering their future cognitive development.

Florida House Bill 291, sometimes referred to as the “concussion bill” introduced new safety protocol designed to identify concussions associated with youth athletics and remove those players immediately from potentially harmful activities. Another provision in the bill requires that officials keep those injured players from returning to their sports until such time as their brains have had sufficient opportunity to heal. That is because a player who has suffered a concussion is at greater risk of suffering another concussion in cases where his or her brain has not fully healed.

Florida residents need to know that children are particularly vulnerable to head and brain injuries. You should seek immediate medical attention for your child if you suspect they may have suffered a head or neck injury in a car crash, slip and fall or similar accident.

The costs associated with treating brain injuries can be substantial. It is not uncommon for head trauma victims to require scanning imagery of their brains as well as ongoing evaluations and other restorative therapies.

Florida law permits victims and their families to seek compensation from those responsible for their brain injuries. In some cases, those victims can recover their medical expenses and other costs that are associated with their injuries.

Source: The Florida Senate, “CS/HB 291: Youth Athletes” Dec. 23, 2014