New Jersey officials have proposed new concussion protocols for high school athletes in the state. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association will likely approve the new rules in April 2010. The new regulations will require high school athletes to get a doctor’s approval before being allowed to play again after suffering a concussion, according to a Fox News article. This coincides well with the message of this year’s Brain Injury Awareness Month, which states, ‘Concussions are traumatic brain injuries.’
New Jersey’s new regulations follow on the footsteps of Washington, Oregon, and Maine. All of those states recently implemented more stringent rules concerning student athlete concussions. Fox News added that, ‘The Brain Injury Association of America estimates the number of sports- and recreation-related concussions at 3.8 million a year.’ Almost 4 million concussions a year is enough to warrant further regulations among the states, while the Pentagon increases federal brain injury awareness and treatment standards for troops. It is likely this year will see more regulations as awareness spreads.
In addition to requiring a doctor’s approval before returning to play after a concussion, New Jersey’s new set of rules would include ‘a battery of tests before being allowed to return to competition,’ the New Jersey Star Ledger reported. The new regulations would also include education and training for students, parents, teachers and coaches, according to the article.
The present set of rules enacted by the New Jersey state Interscholastic Athletic Association leaves the concussion protocols up to the individual schools, with mixed results. Some schools have strict regulations and a high level of concussion awareness, while others have few rules, if any, regarding athletic brain injury.
The Star Ledger article recalled the brain injury death of high school football player Ryne Dougherty and the story of Niki Popyer, a high school basketball player who had endured 11 concussions over the course of her basketball years. The new regulations will hopefully serve to prevent further excessive injuries in New Jersey student athletes, while ensuring that the games continue.
Associated Press. (March 10, 2010) ‘New Jersey to Toughen Rules on High Schoool Athlete Concussions.’ Retrieved on March 12, 2010 from the Fox News Web site:http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,588761,00.html
Star Ledger Editorial Board. (March 10, 2010) ‘N.J.’s head injury rules would protect young athletes.’ Retrieved on March 13, 2010 from the NJ.com Web site:http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2010/03/njs_head_injury_rules_woul…