Ohio House of Representatives passes concussion bill

June 18, 2012

Topic: Injury prevention

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Lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would require youth athletes to be pulled from sports competitions and practices after sustaining a concussion. Furthermore, participants would need clearance from a licensed health professional before returning to play. If the bill is ultimately approved in the state, Ohio would be the latest jurisdiction to pass such injury prevention laws.

"It's a huge concern," youth football coach Mike Elliott told The Marietta Times, an Ohio newspaper. "I don't know if the world knows all there is to know about concussions and their long-term effects."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children and adolescents sent to the emergency room with sports-related concussions increased by 60 percent during the last decade. If not treated properly, such injuries may cause behavioral and learning problems.

Several states have passed laws similar to the one that legislators in Ohio just approved. The bill also requires youth athletes' parents to sign information sheets, and coaches to take educational courses about concussions.

One issue that lawmakers disputed was what kind of health professional would be allowed to provide medical clearance for injured athletes. Some argued that while a physician is best, one may not always be accessible, and that other professionals, such as nurse practitioners, should be eligible.

The bill will now head to the state Senate.

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