NY Lawmakers Pass Student Concussion Rules

ALBANY, NY (WAMC) – As the end of the legislative session draws near, New York lawmakers have approved new protections for student athletes who get concussions. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The new rules require immediately benching those who may have a mild traumatic brain injury and keeping them sidelined from sports or gym classes until they’re symptom-free for at least 24 hours and obtain written authorization from a doctor. Kemp Hannon is a Long Island Republican who chairs the Senate Health Committee, he spearheaded the legislation in the Senate.

He notes the Concussion Management Awareness Act has passed both the Senate and Assembly. The bill’s supporters promise it will “establish minimum guidelines regarding removal from play, physician clearance, and return to play protocols,” – rules affecting New York’s nearly 700 school districts that will be adopted by the state Education Department along with the state Health Department.

Christopher Hobler, President of the New York State Athletic Trainers Association, applauds the measure. But not everyone believes the protections afforded by the new law do enough to protect youth. Michael Kaplan is the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injuries Services Coordinating Council and the past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. He says the new law doesn’t go far enough.

Senator Hannon concedes the new measure isn’t perfect, but he’s glad the bill has finally passed: various versions of it have been pending in Albany for five years. It will take effect on July 1 after it is signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

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