Concussions in school sports: States considering legislation to protect kids

During high school football season, hard hits and heavy competition are to be expected. But sometimes hard hits lead to concussions – which can have very serious long-term effects on the health of young athletes.

In a 2010 NPCH Report, we asked parents of athletes age 12-17 about their perspectives on concussions in school sports. A large majority – 84% – of these parents expressed strong support for a requirement that athletes be cleared by a doctor before returning to play after a concussion. Read the full report: Concussions in school sports: parents ill-prepared for role in reducing kid’s risks.

Parents’ desire for increased requirements surrounding concussions may soon be fulfilled in the state of Michigan. The Michigan House and Senate have recently approved legislation which will require Michigan schools to develop concussion awareness programs for coaches, parents, and all other personnel involved in school athletics. Athletes will also be required to be cleared by a doctor in order to return to play after a concussion. 

It’s very important that young athletes have time to fully recover from a concussion. If an athlete experiences a second concussion before they have fully recovered from the first, there is an increased risk of long-term neurologic effects. The legislation being considered in Michigan aims to prevent children from returning to play too soon after a concussion, but it is still important for parents and coaches to exercise caution with young athletes in order to keep them safe.