Atlanta Falcons, from left to right, kicker Matt Bryant, wide receiver Kevin Cone, offensive lineman Andrew Jackson and former linebacker Buddy Curry listen before a hearing on House Bill 673 during a state House committee meeting Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. The bill would help educate young football players and their parents, coaches and others about the dangers of concussions and the need to protect student athletes from serious brain injury.
A bill to help prevent student athletes who suffer concussion from suffering long term damage easily passes the state house.
The bill requires schools adopt policies to recognize when a player may have suffered a concussion and immediately remove them from play. A doctor's approval would then be required for them to return to play.
Schools would also have to provide parents with information on what a concussion looks like.
“From seven to 19 years old… is a critical time when the brain is actually forming and when you have a concussion at that age without recognizing it, and you end up with a second hit or a second concussion, those devastating effects can last for years to come or forever,” says bill sponsor Rep. Jimmy Pruett (R-Eastman).
Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge) played college football and says he knows firsthand the importance of recognizing such an injury.
“As a player you want to stay on the field, and sometimes I’ve been knocked out couldn’t see the sideline… I had a concussion and didn’t know it,” he said in his speech from the floor of the House.
The NFL has been involved in the process and Falcons players testified at a public hearing on the issue last year.