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New Law May Set Guidelines For Student Athletes & Concussions

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Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md.  (WJZ) — There was a big push Wednesday in Annapolis to better protect students from the dangers of sports-related concussions.

Mary Bubala reports a proposed law would set new guidelines for coaches and young athletes across the state.

One in five student athletes suffered a concussion while playing sports across the U.S.  One of them is Lindy Firstenberg, a Maryland high school senior lacrosse player who suffered two concussions, including one after being hit by a lacrosse stick.

“I kind of staggered off their field and their trainer immediately came over to me,” she said.

A proposed new law would require every school in Maryland to do a better job at protecting student athletes from the adverse health consequences of concussions.  Advocates of the bill came together in Annapolis and one expert recounted a high school football game where a player was left in the game after a hard hit.

“I was scared because had he taken another hit in that subsequent play, he could have died in front of everyone,” said Dr. Kevin Crutchfield.

The proposed law would require a student athlete to be removed from practice or play following a suspected concussion and the athlete couldn’t return until after getting cleared by a doctor.  The law would also require new training and concussion awareness for coaches, school personnel, students and parents.

The NFL is throwing its support behind the proposed Maryland legislation after strengthening its own rules following several frightening collisions and a former NFL quarterback turned state lawmaker is in full support of the bill.

“As a former football player, it used to be a test of your machismo,” said Jay Walker.  “Through science and technology, we realize it’s a problem that really must be addressed.”

The proposed legislation would also require students sign an information sheet and statement before participating in a sport.

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