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Youth concussion policy bill headed to governor

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm •  Published: March 21, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Coaches and school athletic directors would be required to complete a concussion safety education course under legislation that's headed to the governor for his consideration.

The measure, which would require schools and other organizations with youth athletic programs to adopt concussion policies, was overwhelmingly approved 93-3 in the House on Thursday. The companion bill unanimously passed the Senate 30-0 last month.

The legislation is similar to laws passed in 42 other states and the District of Columbia that include provisions requiring students to be removed from an event if they show concussion symptoms like headaches, dilated eyes or vomiting.

The Tennessee proposal would require schools to adopt guidelines to educate coaches, school administrators, athletes and their parents about the symptoms and dangers of concussions. Under the measure, injured students wouldn't be able to resume the sport until a medical professional clears their return.

"There are a lot of people who don't know what a concussion looks like," said House sponsor Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville. "The last thing you want to have happen is a kid that has the concussion symptom get pulled out of the game because he was knocked out for a few seconds ... and not know that he might have a concussion, and send him back in and he's 3 to 6 times more likely to have a more severe concussion."

The safety course for coaches and athletic directors would be developed by the state Department of Health. The course includes a "concussion signs and symptoms checklist" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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