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Contact: Adam Joseph
860-240-8641

September 1, 2010

New Law Protecting Student-Athletes from Concussions is in Place for Start of School Year

Senator Williams and Rep. Flexer hold news conference at Putnam football field to detail changes, applaud local school officials for quickly implementing key provisions of new law

Hartford: Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) joined State Rep. Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), Putnam Schools Athletic Director Patricia Devine, local coaches and student-athletes at a news conference in Putnam on Wednesday September 1st to announce that Public Act 10-62, “An Act Concerning Student Athletes and Concussions”, is in place for the upcoming school year. The new law will affect interscholastic sports and student-athlete safety in two fundamental ways:

  • Anyone who has a coaching permit issued by the State Board of Education and who coaches intramural or interscholastic athletics must be trained in how to recognize and respond to head injuries and concussions.
  • A coach must take a student athlete out of any interscholastic or intramural game or practice if the athlete (1) shows signs of having suffered a concussion after an observed or suspected blow to the head or body or (2) is diagnosed with a concussion. The coach must keep the athlete out of any game or practice until the athlete has received written clearance to return to the game or practice from a licensed medical professional.

“National statistics indicate that more than 40 percent of high school athletes who suffer concussions return to play before it is safe to do so,” said Senator Williams. “This new law will have an immediate impact on the health and safety of student-athletes in Connecticut. Coaches will have the training they need to make safe decisions, students will be better protected and parents will have more peace of mind.”

A new study from researchers at Brown University shows that the number of emergency department visits caused by children’s concussions more than doubled in the last 10 years. From 2001 to 2005, about 502,000 emergency visits came from concussions in children between the ages of 8 and 13 years of age.

The report found that approximately half of these 500,000 emergency department visits were from concussions related to organized sports and that the concussion rates were highest for hockey (10 per 10,000 participating children) and football (eight per 10,000 participating children). Research also shows that similar concussion rates occur in soccer, cheerleading and basketball.

The news conference was held at the Putnam High School football field. The high school principal, Putnam's athletic director, several coaches, and a football player participated in the event and spoke about the importance of the new law.

“Connecticut is one of just seven states to enact such a law but we know we many more will follow our lead,” said Rep. Flexer. “As additional research is conducted on the effects of concussions and public awareness increases, we will see more states take action. I’m pleased that Connecticut is ahead of the curve.”

A coalition of medical, educational, and recreational organizations supports the new law. The list includes: National Athletic Trainers’ Association, CT Coaching Education Program, CT Concussion Task Force, CT Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, Connecticut Athletic Trainers’ Association, CT Disability Advocacy Collaborative, Brain Injury Association of CT, Pediatric Healthcare Associates, and the CT Children’s Medical Center Concussion Program.

 

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