WESTFIELD — Coaches and doctors say a new Indiana law governing concussions in youth sports doesn’t do nearly enough to protect kids.
The law, signed by Gov. Mike Pence this week, adds in language that requires kids to sit out at least 24 hours after exhibiting concussion symptoms. Indiana’s law already required a doctor’s approval to put a youth athlete back in the game.
Another new provision requires football coaches to attend safety training every two years and pass a subsequent test.
“I’m all for anything we can do to help kids and keep kids safe,” said Westfield High School head football coach Jake Gilbert.
Still, Gilbert said he and other coaches are doing far more than the law requires already, rendering it essentially moot.
“If we held a kid out for 24 hours and let him return to play, we’d be fired because our standard is already much higher than that,” Gilbert said.
Leading expert in the field of concussion management Dr. Henry Feuer agreed, saying most young kids require much longer to recover from a concussion.
“They need to be taken home, they need to be checked (and) they need to be examined,” Feuer said.
Feuer said that the law is good in its push to keep kids off the field, but that all parents should be aware of what happens after a concussion.
As for the singling out of football coaches for required training, Gilbert suggested that the law should focus on other sports as well. He pointed out that in youth sports, concussions have become a problem in much more than just football.
“Youth soccer, youth basketball (and) lacrosse (are) just narrowly behind football in terms of concussions,” Gilbert said.
For more information on what to do if your child may have a concussion, read these recommendations by the Indiana Sports Concussion Network.