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Concussion Protections Extended To Younger Athletes

Eierschneider / Flickr

Eierschneider / Flickr

The new year will bring new concussion protocols for children of all ages who participate in sports. It would also require youth sports clubs, camps, and leagues to offer concussion and head injury education to all staff and parents.
“This would ensure that these recreational programs throughout California whether they're soccer, Pop Warner football, or little league, if those kids get hurt out there in the field that the parents, the leagues, the coaches know what to do,“ says Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, who authored the law.
Under the new law, a child may only play again after a licensed health care provider writes a release.
"Youth sports leagues have to have a concussion protocol,” McCarty says. “They must have a return-to-play policy to make sure that kids who get hurt - have a concussion - go see a licensed medical professional, and to make sure that coaches and league administrators are trained on what concussions are and what they should be looking out for."
Jeff Coley, president of the Sacramento Junior Hornets football and cheer program, says his league has already implemented the rules that high schools are required to follow.
"We're trying to protect our sport and protect the kids in it,” Coley says. “With the concussion information that's been put out there, we've seen a decline in youth football in the number of kids registering for youth football and we have to do everything we can to make sure parents know that it is a safe sport to play."
Coley says kids must be protected from coaches with a win-at-all-costs mentality, which happens in all sports.
"What I like about the law is it's going to be applied to all sports,” Coley says. “I think a lot of focus has been on football. But, when you look at soccer, I believe soccer has just as many if not more concussions than football."
According to multiple studies, football and soccer are one-two for concussions in youth sports.
The law took effect January 1.

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