Gov. Bentley signs Ala. concussion law

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has signed legislation into law to address concerns of concussions. The bill was sponsored by several legislators and co-crafted by the Statewide Sports Concussion Taskforce (ASCT) and the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).

The new law requires all athletic organizations to: provide information on sports concussions to all athletic participants and their families; ensure that all coaches have training in the recognition of concussions; and immediately remove a participant suspected of having a concussion from participation and not allow him/her to return until cleared by a physician.

ASCT Chairman Dr. Joe Ackerson says they've been working since 2007 to reduce the incidence and morbidity associated with sports-related concussion.

It's estimated that up to 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries occur in the United States yearly with the highest rates of emergency department visits for sports concussion occurring for young people from ages 10 to 19. Youth athletes appear to be especially vulnerable.

Dr. Ackerson says he's optimistic that most of the adverse long-term consequences of concussion can be avoided by proper identification of the injury when it occurs followed by immediate physical and mental rest along with proper medical management.

ASCT, which is a part of the Alabama Statewide Head Injury Taskforce, says it's job is not finished now that a law is in place. The focus now shifts to helping to educate professionals, the public, schools and other athletic organizations about the law, to help everyone come into compliance.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Children's of Alabama

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