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Hannon’s ‘Concussion Management and Awareness Act’ Signed into Law

Senator Kemp Hannon has announced that his legislation, the “Concussion Management and Awareness Act,” has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.  The law will establish head concussion guidelines, and seeks to ensure the safety of student athletes.

“A concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury and can cause harmful, long-term effects to brain functions,” says Hannon. “This legislation establishes the necessary guidelines to protect our students.”

With the new fall athletic season beginning at schools throughout Nassau County and New York State, the chances of student athletes receiving concussions in sports like football is always of great concern. Unfortunately, many concussions are left untreated since the symptoms are not always quickly identified.

“If left untreated, a concussion could cause permanent brain damage or death,” says Hannon. “Young athletes, children and teens are more likely than adults to suffer a concussion, and their recovery time is longer.”

This new law will require coaches, physical education teachers and other appropriate school personnel to be trained about the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries and the importance of proper medical treatment. It will also require the State Education Department, the Department of Health and school districts to post information on their websites for parents and students about how brain injuries occur, the signs and symptoms of such injuries and guidelines about returning to school, physical education classes and sports after an injury.

“This information will also be included in permission and consent forms which parents or persons in parental relationship to a student must sign to allow their children to participate in sports,” says Hannon.

The State Education Department, in conjunction with the Department of Health, will promulgate the necessary rules and regulations.  In developing these regulations, the departments will consider input from parents and students, teachers and school administrators, physical education teachers and sports trainers and coaches, the Public Schools Athletic League in New York City, the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association and medical and health professionals.

The legislation will require the immediate removal of any student who has or who may have suffered a concussion. No student who has or who may have suffered a concussion may return to athletic activities unless the student has been symptom free for at least twenty-four hours and a licensed physician has authorized the student’s return.

“These policies will promote prevention of injury and assure that students receive the appropriate medical attention and treatment when they are injured,” says Hannon. “This will reduce the risk of long-term complications and will encourage parents, students and coaches to take preventative steps to avoid such significant injuries.”

Specific provisions of the law include: requiring the Commissioner of Education, in conjunction with the Commissioner of Health, to promulgate rules and regulations relating to pupils who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries in school sponsored or related activities; requiring a course of instruction relating to recognizing the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries and the monitoring and seeking proper medical treatment for pupils who are injured; requiring information about traumatic brain injuries to be posted on websites of the State Education Department, the Department of Health and school districts as well as included on any parent permission or consent form; requiring the immediate removal from athletic activities of any pupil believed to have sustained a mild traumatic head injury and authorization from a licensed physician for return to athletic activity; and authorizing a school district, in its discretion, to establish a concussion management team.