State lawmakers on Tuesday took a step toward passing a law that would require youth coaches to recognize concussion symptoms.
House Bill 143 would require youth sports leaders to complete an online concussion management course, and players who suffer a concussion would not be allowed to return to play without written clearance from a doctor, 10TV’s Kevin Landers reported.
Physician Thomas Pommering said that concussions are the No.1 diagnosis at his office. He said children are at a higher risk today for head injuries.
“Kids have more exposure than ever before,” Pommering said. “They play sports year-round and (have) more opportunities to get hit in the head.”
Westerville mother Tai Wong said that she knows about the dangers of concussions. Her two sons play soccer.
“As a coach, they are responsible for the children during the time that they have them,” Wong said.
The YMCA initially opposed the proposed law, noting the organization did not want its volunteer coaches held liable for playing a child who may have concussion-type symptoms.
“Assigning legal liability for not getting it exactly right when higher-level folks don’t always get it right we thought was a burden for our volunteers, said Beth Tsvetkoff of the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs.
Tsvetkoff said that lawmakers recently removed the liability clause.
“We’re 100 percent in favor of the new version,” Tsvetkoff said.
Wong said that she hoped more coaches and parents would become aware of the dangers of concussions.
“We all need to step up to the plate and be more aware,” Wong said.
If H.B. 143 is approved, Ohio would join 31 other states to have concussion laws on their books. The bill is modeled after a program already in place by the Ohio High School Athletic Association, Landers reported.
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