Fellow parents, take note. Our kids’ brain health is at stake!
A proposed Wisconsin law requiring specific guidelines for youth athletes who suffer concussion is at risk. Republican lawmakers have stripped out a requirement that club sports and school districts adhere to guidelines proposed by the medical community.
Instead, the law allows clubs and schools to make their own rules about responding to player concussions. This is a bad idea.
The NFL discovered too late that playing athletes before they are fully healed is not only dangerous it has serious long term effects. Let’s not make the same mistake that the NFL did.
Club sports are perhaps the biggest threat to brain health. With year-round training and pressure to perform the athletes, coaches and parents may be hard pressed to pull players who are badly needed on the field.
And coaches — often well-meaning parents — are not equipped to evaluate whether a child has been injured or is ready to return to play.
Suggesting that coaches and parents possess the ability to evaluate for brain injury is the same as suggesting they diagnose other sports-related injuries. Frankly, it doesn't work!
Recently, my niece practiced headers with her soccer coach. Only after she developed severe concussion symptoms hours later did her mom realize that the coach — being a skilled player already — allowed her daughter to take all of the headers during the drill — and never took a turn himself (as the other player pairs had). Hence, she suffered for weeks with headaches and dizziness thanks to multiple micro-concussions.
Let’s face it, if clubs and schools were doing an effective job of self-managing the challenge of player concussion, the medical community would not have had a reason to propose legislation. Suggesting that coaches and parents possess the ability to evaluate for brain injury is the same as suggesting they diagnose other sports-related injuries. Frankly, it doesn't work!
It’s incumbent on us as parents to rely on medical professionals who understand the subtleties of concussion symptoms to evaluate our kids following an injury. No coach or parent is skilled enough to evaluate the readiness for returning play — and very few kids will ever admit the full extent of their symptoms such as headache and dizziness — which are largely known only to them.
We all know that the long-term effects of concussion on the brain are significant and include permanent brain damage and loss of cognitive function. Reason enough to want to protect our kids as much as possible.
Parents, coaches, teachers, students, I urge you to take action today — contact your legislators — Google Wisconsin Legislators and find out who yours are and how to reach them.
It takes only a moment and the effects could last — well, a lifetime.
Click here for the full story: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/amendment-weakens-youth-concussion-bill-994g9av-142007183.html