Youth Sports and Concussions
Three years ago, Georgia joined the majority of the country in passing a youth concussion law requiring schools and recreation facilities to implement specific concussion prevention policies. Unfortunately, thousands of children and teenagers still suffer from undiagnosed or unreported concussions every year. Although Molena is a small town, known for its quaint historic district, it is still home to a number of youth sports teams, so if you live in Pike County and your child recently sustained a concussion, it is critical to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case.Current Law
According to The Return to Play Act, Georgia school boards, governing charter school bodies, and private school administrators are required to adopt and implement concussion management programs. Although schools are encouraged to create a detailed policy, they are only required to incorporate the following three components into their programs, which state that:
- Before the start of each season, schools must provide the parents and guardians of youth athletes with an information sheet informing them of the risk of concussion and head injury;
- If an athlete shows signs of a concussion, he or she must be removed from the activity, whether a game, practice, or competition and evaluated by a healthcare provider; and
- If a medical professional diagnoses an athlete with a concussion, the coach cannot allow the athlete to continue playing until he or she receives medical clearance.
Unfortunately, the same rules do not apply to recreational facilities that offer youth sports programs as these entities are only mandated to provide parents with an informational sheet at the time of registration. Although these types of facilities are encouraged to implement concussion management policies of their own, they are not technically required to do so.Common Symptoms of a Concussion
Due to widespread participation in youth contact sports, the number of concussions amongst youth have increased by as much as 62% in the last decade. As a result, as many as 173,000 youths are treated for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in hospitals every year.
Although most concussions are mild and heal after a few weeks, others can have serious and even permanent consequences. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that parents and guardians of youths keep an eye out for certain concussion-related symptoms, including:
- Behavioral changes;
- Difficulty focusing;
- Sensitivity to light or noise;
- Slower reaction time; and
- Sleep pattern disturbances, such as insomnia.
Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old are especially at risk of suffering from these types of symptoms because their prefrontal cortex, which controls emotional response and mood, is not fully developed. Children and teenagers are also more likely to suffer from additional concussions after sustaining an initial head injury. For this reason, it is extremely important that children suffering from concussions be given ample time to heal.Contact the Angell Law Firm, LLC to Speak with a Dedicated Personal Injury Attorney
Although players accept a certain amount of risk by participating in contact sports, coaches, sports directors, and school administrators can still be held accountable for their failure to provide parents with information about concussions or to get medical clearance for a concussed player. If you live in Molena or somewhere else in Pike County and your child recently suffered from a concussion, please contact our legal team at (770) 217-4954 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated attorney.