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New IHSA Policy Enhances Safety Precautions for Head Injuries in Young Athletes

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) has approved a new policy that enhances safety precautions for high school athletes in the hopes of minimizing the number of concussions and head injuries. The new policy requires that a high school athlete who has been removed from a game or competition be evaluated and cleared by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and treatment of concussions of head injuries before the athlete can resume play.

The previous policy, which was instituted just last year, required that that athletes who left a game with a head injury be cleared by a doctor before returning to the game, but it did not require any follow-up evaluations to be conducted in the days following the injury.

According to IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman, "The more we learn about concussions, the more we realize the long-term effects of these injuries and how important follow-up is for student-athletes."

Legislation is also pending in the Illinois Senate that would require written permission from a doctor before a concussed athlete could return to a game (the legislation has already been approved by the Illinois House), and Chicago's City Council recently passed an ordinance in January 2011 that would remove water and sewer fee exemption status from those schools that allow athletes to compete in sports with concussions.

The impact of concussions and head injuries in sports has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, largely due to reports of the long-term effects of concussions on professional football players.  Startling statistics and information about the effects on youth athletes is also staggering.  For instance, a New York Times article estimated that more than 100,000 young football players are wearing helmets too old to provide adequate protection, and that an estimated 500,000 may be wearing helmets that are potentially unsafe and require critical examination.

If you are concerned about a possibly traumatic brain injury or concussion to your child as a result of high school athletics, you should consider contacting the knowledgeable Chicago personal injury lawyers at Steinberg Goodman & Kalish.

Steinberg Goodman & Kalish  (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families.  We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (800) 784-0150 or (312) 782-1386.