Senate Acts To Protect Young Athletes
Members approve bill that increases awareness and training on recognizing concussion symptoms
December 04, 2012
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COLUMBUS— State Senator Scott Oelslager today announced the Ohio Senate voted to approve legislation that seeks to increase awareness among parents, coaches, referees and others involved in youth sports about the symptoms associated with a concussion. According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), emergency department visits for sports-related traumatic brain injuries – including concussions – increased by 142 percent between 2002 and 2009. 

“Recognizing when a concussion has occurred and seeking prompt medical attention is critical, as it can help prevent further injury or even death,” said Oelslager, who chairs the Senate Health, Human Services and Aging Committee that examined the bill. “As children and teenagers are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover from a brain injury than an adult, making sure that they receive proper medical care before being allowed to return to play will help keep young athletes safe.”

House Bill 143 requires information about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion to be distributed to athletes, parents, coaches, referees and sideline volunteers. It also requires athletes who exhibit signs or symptoms of a concussion or brain injury to be removed from practice or competition, and prohibits them from returning for 24 hours. Before resuming athletic activities, athletes must be cleared to return by a physician. Additionally, ODH and other organizations will provide online training for coaches and referees on how to recognize and respond to a suspected concussion.

The Senate also approved legislation giving law enforcement additional leverage in the fight against synthetic drugs. Lawmakers passed a bill last year that added many of the ingredients used in these drugs – which can mimic the effects of marijuana or amphetamines – to the list on controlled substances in Ohio. However, offenders often skirt the law by tweaking the chemical makeup of the drug, usually by adding or changing molecules. House Bill 334 bans entire classes of synthetic drugs, rather than specific compounds, to prevent offenders from evading prosecution.

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