Bill seeks to protect Georgia youth from sports concussions

BY RAY HENRY ASSOCIATED PRESS ATLANTA (AP) – Amid a national push, Georgia is moving closer to requiring that young athletes be pulled from games and medically examined if they suffer a suspected concussion. House lawmakers voted 161-7 on Friday to adopt a bill sponsored by Rep. Jimmy Pruett, R-Eastman, which adheres roughly to policies already adopted in 44 other states. The bill now heads to the state Senate.
Under the plan, primary and secondary schools would be required to create a policy intended to minimize serious injuries from concussions. It includes no penalties for violations. The legislation would set minimum requirements for mandatory school policies, including distributing to parents or guardians of student athletes an information sheet describing the risks of concussions and head injuries. It would also require that young athletes be immediately pulled from games or practices if they show signs of a concussion and be examined by a health care provider. Those suffering from a concussion could not return to play until they are medically cleared. Public recreation facilities would have to distribute information to parents and guardians, though they would be exempt from the other requirements faced by schools. The plan gives wide discretion to schools. In addition to providing no sanctions, Pruett's bill states that school and public recreation officials and volunteers cannot be held liable for decisions over whether to remove an athlete from play. Pruett said compromises were necessary to move the bill forward. "If you knew the definition of a politician .... it should say the ability to compromise," Pruett told lawmakers. "It should not say the ability to dictate. And that's what I tried to do with the bill is put it to point where we could all compromise and come up with something we could all support." Most states have adopted rules similar to Washington state, which set a national standard in 2009 with a law named for a 16-year-old who suffered a life-threatening brain injury after returning to play football after a concussion. The movement in many states has been aided by the National Football League, which has been sued by former players who accuse the league of not doing enough to protect them from concussions. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to U.S. governors in 2010 asking them help protect young players from concussions. Legislation that failed in Georgia last year would have gone farther, for example, requiring that coaches take a concussion awareness course and requiring that parents sign and return information sheets on concussions. It also encouraged the use of computerized diagnostic testing to determine whether a player had been injured. Opponents had worried it might force small, cash-strapped schools to have medical personnel on the sideline of games. --- Follow Ray Henry on Twitter: http://twitter.com/rhenryAP . © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


More Local

Program aims to assist military chaplains

Entering into a combat zone is a life-changing experience and can have long-reaching effects that many in the civilian world remain unaware ... Read More


Newnan Walmart not part of statewide bomb threats

Bomb threats were called into Walmart stores around Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the Newnan Walmart was not one of them. Some of th ... Read More


Golden K give art in memory of Harold Barron

White Oak Golden K has donated funds for a piece of public art in memory of longtime Kiwanian Harold Barron. Malcolm Jackson, past president ... Read More


Coweta edges state in Career Readiness testing

Despite a statewide decrease in overall scores, the Coweta County School System outscored the state of Georgia in the College and Career Rea ... Read More


Home Safe

Alarm over missing child a simple mixup

County and city authorities were happy to locate a 5-year-old child safe and sound after she was reported missing on Wednesday. All four pub ... Read More

Luminaria fundraiser

Neighborhood rallies for Coweta Samaritan Clinic

More than 100 residents in one Newnan neighborhood are planning to participate in their first annual luminaria fundraiser. On Tuesday at 6:3 ... Read More