MEDFORD, Ore. — A new law in Oregon this year is designed to better protect young athletes from serious long-term head injuries and it’s supposed to take away any doubt about whether an athlete should leave the game.
Every athletes wants to be out on the field or on the court to help their team win and coaches say that creates extra pressure to downplay the seriousness of a head injury or concussion – but that can lead to long-term problems.
Under the new rules, any time a player is even suspected of having a concussion, they need to be taken out of the game and taken to a doctor. The law says that players cannot return to practice or games until they have received medical clearance.
The law applies to coaches at every level, from high school to rec leagues and pee-wee football, and it expands the previous law, which only applied to school sports programs.
Doctors say that makes it very clear about when an athlete needs to be taken out of the game. Coaches say that’s important, because some athletes and coaches feel a lot of pressure to win, and could try to find ways to fake being okay.
The new law also requires coaches at all levels to take courses about how to recognize concussion symptoms. Some coaches who spoke to NewsWatch12 say they have been training on what to watch for if a player hits his or her head; those symptoms of a concussion include, dizziness, confusion, headache, vision problems and nausea.