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Concussion Coalition Wants More State Regulations

11:51 PM, Jan 25, 2013   |    comments
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The Georgia Concussion Coalition wants the state to regulate how coaches and athletes manage head injuries.

In October, Katelyn Heck's series 'Concussions: A Real-Life Penalty' broke down a proposed bill that failed to make it out of committee during last year's General Assembly. That left Georgia as one of ten states in the country without laws regulating concussion management.

Last week, Katelyn was asked to emcee the Georgia Athletic Trainer's Association Awards Luncheon, where one of the coalition members told her how they changed some of the proposed regulations this year.

Jeff Hopp with the coalition says there are three main regulations they want legislators to consider.

First, he says coaches should be required to remove an athlete from play if there is any sign of a concussion, and to return, he or she would have to be cleared by a medical professional.

"Specifically, what we would like to see would be by a physician, by a nurse practitioner, by a physician's assistant, or by an athletic trainer," says Hopp.

He says that's because they don't want to leave room for healthcare professionals who don't handle concussions on a regular basis to make return-to-play calls.

The third component of the proposed bill would be mandatory education for parents, athletes, and coaches both for school and recreational teams.

Hopp says, "For the parents and for the athletes, it would be probably a one or two-page thing that they would sign off on and it would be updated as needed. For the coaches, it would be some sort of course, ideally, some sort of online course where the coaches would not have to travel to do it."

Last year, the proposed act suggested that school districts provide a computerized test that measures brain function at the beginning of the year and after an athlete gets a concussion.

But Hopp says they're taking that off the table "in an attempt to keep the bill budget-neutral, and in an effort to make sure that as we learn about concussions and as concussion care progresses, that we don't have to make changes to things at that point."

Hopp says the coalition already met with a House subcommittee, and he expects the legislation to pop up by the end of the month.

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