Governor signs concussion law into effect

Published 9:02 am Saturday, August 13, 2011

As high schools inch toward the opening of the 2011 football season, players and coaches are getting used to some new rules.

Alabama has a new concussion law that was signed into effect by Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday. The law requires parents and coaches to learn about the dangers of concussions and doesn’t allow any player who might be concussed to play until he or she has received permission from a doctor. It applies to a range of athletic programs, from high school athletics to city-run recreation sports.

U.S. emergency departments treat about 135,000 children ages 5 to 18 with sports-and-recreation-related traumatic brain injuries each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the Alabama High School Athletic Association mandated that high school athletes could not return to practice or play until being cleared by a physician.

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The new law was written and sponsored by Alabama Statewide Sports Concussion Taskforce chairman Dr. Joe Ackerson, Rep. Paul Demarco, Rep. Ron Johnson and Sen. Greg Reed.

Ackerson said the passage of the law is not the end of the ASCT efforts.

“We have been working hard for several years to bring together the top experts in our state to address this important issue. Our fo cus now shifts to helping to educate professionals, the public, schools and other athletic organizations about the law, to help everyone come into compliance, and to continue to build and support statewide capacity to recognize and treat sports related concussions,” he said.

Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese, members of the Alabama Statewide Sports Concussion Taskforce and AHSAA Associate Director Joe Evens were on hand for the signing.