Schools focus on identifying, treating head injuries

In an effort to reduce the chances of injury to New York high school students who play sports, the state legislature passed the Concussion Management and Awareness Act in 2011. Since many students play high impact sports in high school, they are at risk for traumatic brain injury and other cranial injuries. The goal of the law was to ensure that students were accurately diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible.

The law requires teachers and instructors involved in athletic activities at the school, such as athletic trainers and nurses, to undergo special training. Additionally, as a result of the new law, students who are suspected of having a concussion are prohibited from playing again until they have gone at least 24 hours without symptoms, and a doctor's note is required to resume athletic activities. According to an athletic trainer in the Shenendehowa School District, the new law is already helping students, and the number of diagnosed concussions in the district has doubled since it was enacted.

Unsurprisingly, football is one of the main sources of concern and head injury. Based on information from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, 10 percent of all high school students who play football suffer a head injury every year, and 20 percent will experience a head injury at some point while playing the game.

The symptoms of head injuries can be vague, and the effects may not show up immediately, but cranial trauma can have long-term and debilitative effects. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help a young person who has sustained a brain injury while participating in an athletic event at school if he or she can demonstrate that improper safety measures were taken or administrators failed to comply with the CMA.

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