New Georgia law aims to lower sports head injury complications - WNEM TV 5

New Georgia law aims to lower sports head injury complications

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Larry Smith, a parent whose son played football for years Larry Smith, a parent whose son played football for years
Dr. Mike Busman, Family Medicine & Sports Medicine Physician Dr. Mike Busman, Family Medicine & Sports Medicine Physician
Debbie Zinsmeyer, a parent and nurse whose son played football for years Debbie Zinsmeyer, a parent and nurse whose son played football for years
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A new state law designed to improve safety for student athletes is now in effect.

Georgia's Return to Play Act of 2013 requires coaches to pull kids displaying signs of concussions off the fields for medical evaluation.

The law will keep children who've suffered head injuries from playing until they're cleared by a doctor.  Some say it sounds good, but others worry it won't work.  The players dashing down the field each game now have extra protection.

"It's always in the back of your mind when any of your children play sports that, you know, there's always a chance that it could happen," said Larry Smith, Parent. 

A new state law requires coaches to pull players who may have suffered a concussion out of the game.  

"Basically, what it does it makes people aware of what they are and what dangers it could lead to," said Dr. Mike Busman, Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Physician. 

Busman said recognizing concussions can be tricky.  He said removing injured players from games is essential before they get hit again.

"It could cause loss of consciousness, bleeds on the brain, swelling on the brain, and could lead to death,” he said. 

Those suffering head injuries will have to get medical clearance before they can return to the field.  Parents support the idea.

"Back in the old times, especially when I went to school and stuff like that, they'd let players play hurt all the time," said Smith.

Part of the law will require that parents are given information sheets explaining the risks of concussions and other head related injuries.  But not all parents think it's going to make a difference.

"If nothing else, it should bring coaches and teachers to the forefront to maybe fight for those individuals,” said Debbie Zinsmeyer, Parent / Nurse. 

Zinsmeyer said she worried about her son's safety when he played football.  She questions how the bill will be enforced.

"I think kids grow up, especially in smaller towns where football is the main thing they do as far as sports, and they grow up with a mentality that it's macho and you need to get out there and you need to give it your best," she said. 

But safety above all else could become the new mantra. 

Doctors said concussions are fairly common among younger athletes, especially in high contact sports like football and soccer.  They said younger athletes are also more prone to second impact syndrome, leading to more serious complications. 

 

Georgia is the latest of several states since 2009 to enact legislation aimed at improving safety for student athletes. 


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