By Robert Fernicola, Attorney, Steven Smith, Attorney, and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
With increasing public awareness about head injuries due to game-related impact, it is no surprise that state legislatures are enacting laws to help protect youth athletes from sports-related brain injuries. With the start of the new year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a concussion bill that will create a comprehensive awareness and prevention program about these types of injuries. According to research from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State University, there were nearly 400,000 concussions in high school athletics during the 2008-2009 school year. The same research study also concluded that 16% of football players who sustained concussions, which were severe enough to lose consciousness, were back on the field the same day. Most youth athletes are so eager to play that they downplay severe injuries. Coaches, parents, and guardians are also failing to recognize the severity of the youths’ personal injuries. The main problem with downplaying or not recognizing serious injuries is that the injured youth becomes susceptible to Second Impact Syndrome. SIS is where the rain swells from a second concussion before fully recovering from the first, which causes pressure on the brainstem and can cause coma, brain damage and even death. The goal from these programs is to ensure the youth athletes can handle simple physical challenges and exercises before putting them back into play. For more on this topic see State legislatures enact laws to protect youth athletes from brain injury.