Concussion training now required for Illinois coaches
As the fall sports season gets underway, high school coaches in Illinois will be taking classes on concussion reduction thanks to a new bill signed by Governor Pat Quinn last week.
The law, which took effect immediately, requires the Illinois High School Association to create a free online course that schools’ athletic staff members have to complete every two years on preventing and detecting concussions.
Additionally, the new law requires student athletes to watch a video outlining the dangers of head injuries and then sign a concussion awareness form before they can participate in a sport.
“Sports play a big role in the lives of many young people across our state,” said Gov. Quinn, in a prepared statement. “While we want to ensure all children have the opportunity to play sports, we must also protect the health of our young athletes from potentially life-changing damage.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 175,000 children suffer sports-related concussions each year. In the last 10 years, the number of sports concussions has increased by 60 percent.
A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a blow to the head or other excessive force. An injury to the brain, which may or may not lead to a loss of consciousness, can impair a person’s physical, cognitive and even emotional behaviors for days or weeks, according to health experts.
Fears about the long-term effect of concussions – for football players in particular – have become an area of extreme concern from youth leagues to the pros.
A recent study of collegiate football players found that players who had suffered a concussion or had been playing the sport for many years had smaller hippocampal volume, an area of the brain crucial to memory.
“It’s very important that someone on the sideline is trained to look for the signs of a concussion,” Dr. Citow says. “If it goes unrecognized and the athlete continues to play, there can be significant health problems.”
For more information on preventing and detecting concussions, the CDC offers this guide for parents of student athletes.
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