Recognizing the perils inherent in ignoring signs of concussions, New York's legislature passed the "Concussion Management and Awareness Act," and this month it becomes the law of New York State. This is certainly a welcome development.
The law contains four (4) main provisions:
(1) parents of student-athletes must sign a permission slip before their children can participate in practice or games;
(2) any student-athlete who is suspected of having sustained a "concussion" or "mild traumatic brain injury" must immediately be removed from play;
(3) any student-athlete with a concussion must obtain medical clearance before returning to play; and,
(4) school coaches, physical education teachers, school nurses, and athletic trainers must undergo biennial concussion training.
In my view, the last prong of this statute is probably the most important, and here's why:
Unless school personnel are trained on how to assess properly whether a student is in fact displaying the symptoms of a concussion, how can they be expected to make an intelligent judgment whether that student is suspected of having sustained a "concussion" or "mild traumatic brain injury"?
(Hint: Without training, they can't make that judgment.)
Therefore, and in other words, absent Step 4, the remainder of the statute is probably stripped of any real meaning or utility.