Gov. Rick Snyder signs youth concussion bill
Originally posted by David Eggert | deggert1@mlive
LANSING, MI - Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed legislation aimed at safeguarding young athletes from concussions, saying just heightening awareness can help combat the problem.
The new laws require all youth sports coaches, employees and volunteers in Michigan to participate in a concussion awareness program and to give educational materials to the athletes.
Coaches also have to remove any youth athlete suspected of having a concussion. They could not return to competition without written clearance from a health care professional.
"I've had children that have had concussions. It's something that really does concern you. So this is great legislation because it's really helping educate people," Snyder said before signing the bills.
He was joined in Lansing by Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand, lawmakers who sponsored the legislation, a youth sports coach and young athletes. The bills were backed by the Lions.
More than 140,000 high school athletes in the U.S. sustain a concussion each year, according to Snyder, who said that is "scary."
The National Football League has started an initiative to get similar legislation passed in all 50 states and Congress. Snyder's office said more than half of the states have enacted laws to protect against youth concussions.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association already has established concussion protocols. The policy calls for any athlete who exhibits signs consistent with a concussion - such as as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems - to be removed from competition and not return until cleared by a health care professional.
"When in doubt, come out of the game," Lewand said.
The bills were sponsored by Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, and Rep. Thomas Hooker, R-Byron Center.