Earlier this month New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed wide-ranging legislation designed to protect student-athletes in his state. As reported by the website Safe Kids New Jersey, the bill will require the state’s Department of Education “to develop an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program to be completed by school physicians, coaches and athletic trainers” in both public and private schools.
The website goes on to note that the New Jersey program will include teaching school personnel how to recognize “symptoms of head and neck injuries,” how to judge when an athlete should be allowed to return to the field and when someone requires further treatment, including hospitalization. As the organization notes, “currently, there is no uniform method of handling suspected concussions in interscholastic sports.”
As I have noted in previous posts looking at both football and hockey, concern over concussions and other traumatic brain injuries at all levels of competition is rising here in Oregon and nationwide. Parents as well as coaches and trainers are becoming more and more aware of the dangers improperly diagnosed or treated head injuries can pose, especially to younger athletes. Below you’ll find a link to an especially helpful checklist of questions every parent should know to ask when talking to a doctor treating a child for a suspected head injury (the list is compiled by the federal government’s National Institutes of Health).
The issues surrounding Oregon concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are serious, and it is good to see them drawing more attention both here and nationwide. Legislation is a good first step but, ultimately, both parents and the justice system must remain vigilant to ensure that responsible adults act appropriately, particularly when caring for our children. Consulting an Oregon traumatic brain injury attorney can be an important step for parents wondering whether a sports-related injury could, or should, have been avoided.
National Institutes of Health: Concussion – what to ask your doctor – child