Alabama aims to reduce brain injuries locally

There have been many concerns about concussions and brain injuries over the last year as more information about the dangers of concussions through football have emerged thanks to a nationwide National Football League case. Head injuries are dangerous; short-term effects are usually obvious, although they can vary, and many people seem to be able to overcome the side effects within a relatively short amount of time. However, over the long-term, these head injuries can lead to effects that simply can't be predicted fully.

Schools in Alabama are taking head injuries seriously by protecting youth athletic teams through stricter standards. First of all, the helmets players wear have to meet federal standards for impact resistance. These helmets aren't simply good enough because they were purchased meeting standards the first time; they must be recertified every two years. The recertification process costs approximately $40 per helmet. Should a parent or school official find that the helmets aren't in the right condition or been placed through the recertification process, the school could be open to a lawsuit.

In 2011, the Alabama Youth Sports Concussion Law went into effect. That law requires the organization to create a head injury and concussion information sheet for players and parents to read and sign each year. Additionally, coaches must be trained annually on how to recognize concussions and how to get the right treatment for the players.

Any youth athlete suspected of having a concussion has to be immediately taken out of play, as well. He or she is not allowed to return to the game until a doctor with concussion training provides written clearance for the player. With these steps in place, it's hoped that the students will get the care they need sooner, helping to prevent further brain injuries in the long run.

Source: Fox10TV, "Concussion protection varies across the area" Hal Scheurich, Nov. 12, 2014

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