New Minnesota Concussion Law Signed by Governor Dayton
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed a new bill into law on June 8, 2011 that now requires all coaches to sideline athletes who show signs of a concussion. Those athletes cannot return to the field until they get clearance by a state licensed MEDICAL health care provider. Minnesota now joins 20 states with similar laws taking effect.
– The law takes effect September 1, 2011
– This applies to all players under the age of 18 and applies to ALL youth sports organizations both PUBLIC and PRIVATE.
– The law also requires that parents have access to information on the risks and symptoms of concussions and coaches must have training on concussions once every 3 years.
– It is unclear what legal ramifications exist for coaches in violation of this law.
Entire text of law can be seen here.
Here is a quick review of concussion symptoms from a comprehensive article on Soccer Head Injuries featured in IMS earlier this year, including how most concussions are likely to happen; heading the ball is not in the top 3.
Confusion, foggy/groggy feeling, sluggish
Dizzy, poor balance
Sensitivity to noise or light, blurry vision
Headache, feeling of pressure
Poor memory: can’t remember what they ate earlier that day, the score of the game, what happened, etc.
Poor coordination and concentration
Everyone is different and symptoms can be very subtle. Being knocked UNCONSCIOUS is not a requirement and a “ding” can very well result in a concussion, especially for young athletes and athletes who have had previous head injuries.
SIGNS OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY
HEADACHES THAT WORSEN
SEVERE NECK PAIN
LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS OR UNABLE TO BE AWAKENED EASILY
WEAKNESS / NUMBNESS IN ARMS OR LEGS
UNABLE TO RECOGNIZE FAMILIAR FACES/THINGS
This attention to head injuries is an excellent step in moving the pendulum away from “if you didn’t black out you aren’t injured.” (Read about what I experienced from an ER doctor earlier this year with one of my U18 players.) However…is this going too far? Does this mean excessive doctors’ visits requiring parents to take time off work when not needed? What happens when kids are having concussion-like symptoms that aren’t coming from the head? Many headaches arise from the neck which could come from a collision or simply brought on by poor posture from sitting at school/computer/TV all day. Many medications can mimic concussions symptoms as do heat-related illnesses.
Does the law do enough to protect youth athletes or does it go too far? What are your thoughts?
About the Author: Julie Eibensteiner PT, DPT, CSCS is a physical therapist and owner of Laurus Athletic Rehab and Performance LLC, an independently owned practice specializing in ACL rehab and prevention in competitive athletes. In addition to being a regular contributor to IMS on topics of sport injury and prevention, Eibensteiner holds a USSF A License, coaches a U18G MRL team for Eden Prairie Soccer Club, and assists with the Men’s and Women’s soccer programs at Macalester College.
To view other sports injury and rehab articles by Julie Eibensteiner click here.