Georgia Legislature Passes Concussion Bill

10:15 AM, Mar 27, 2013   |    comments
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The law that cleared the state legislature Tuesday regulates how coaches, athletes, and healthcare professionals manage concussions.

The Senate passed what's called the "Return to Play Act". The House also approved it at the end of last month.

Jeff Hopp, member of the Georgia Concussion Coalition, helped put together the legislation and hopes it will help more than just the athletes.

"It should make life a lot easier for the healthcare providers," he says, "because hopefully the education part will get out there and we can focus on taking care of the athletes and the health and welfare of the athletes, and not have to worry about 'are the parents and are the athletes or are the coaches, are they going to know what to do, how to handle things, what they're looking at,' That sort of thing."

The act has three main points. The first is education.

Every year, coaches will go through training on what to do if their player takes a concussive hit.

Players and their parents will also have to read and sign an information sheet outlining all of the signs, symptoms, and dangers of concussions.

Hopp says, "That's still a little up in the air on who is going to be monitoring that. That is something that will have to be hashed out yet. I think it will be left up to the individual associations to make sure that happens. I know as for the Georgia High School Association, I would expect that will be something just included with the pre-participation physicals that are already required."

The bill also says if a player shows any signs of a concussion, the coach must take them out, and they can't return until they've been cleared by a licensed physician or any medical professional acting under one. That could mean a certified athletic trainer, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.

Hopp says this is to eliminate healthcare providers who don't have training in evaluating concussions from making the return to play decision.

The bill now heads to the governor's desk. If he signs off, it will take effect at the beginning of next year.

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