Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 1, 2013 Issue
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Helmet-to-helmet contact in football as well as blows to the head in other sports are a leading cause of concussions at the scholastic level. A state law in effect since July 1 establishes new protocol for school personel in treating head injuries and allowing students to return to action.

State lawmakers meet
concussions head on

Contributed Report
ALBANY – The Concussion Management and Awareness Act is now law in New York state. Effective July 1, high school students now have regulated protection against head injuries suffered in athletic activities.
The law specifically establishes guidlelines that school personnel and parents must follow when a student is suspected of suffering a concussion. Among the requirements are:
• A student believed to have sustained or who has sustained a mild brain injury must be removed from athletic activities immediately.
• There can be no return to activity until the athlete is symptom-free for at least 24 hours; he or she must be evaluated and receive written permission to return by a licensed physician.
• Coaches, physical education teachers, nurses and athletic trainers are required to complete a course relating to recognition of symptoms of mild brain injury and the appropriate medical treatment.
• Before a student can participate, parents/guardians must sign a permission slip that contains information relating to concussions.
In addition, school districts are authorized to establish a concussion management team to oversee the implementation of policies – a step that many schools have already taken. For instance, Sullivan West at its last board meeting approved a new policy supplementing the Concussion Management and Awareness Act.
“The mentality has changed,” said Chuck Szuberla, the state’s assistant commissioner of education. “There is no more of the ‘suck it up, you’ll stop feeling dizzy in five minutes.’ Everybody has seen there are huge benefits to waiting.”

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