Indiana first state with concussion-related law

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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is making history on the high school football field.

Starting July 1, a new law requires high school football coaches take player safety and concussion training courses every two years. Also, concussed players must sit out 24 hours before returning to the field. Indiana is the first state to do this.

“Ten or 15 years ago, you would commonly hear the phrase ‘he got his bell rung’ or ‘they were knocking the cobwebs loose’ and it was pretty routine for a concussed athlete to return to play with symptoms,” said athletic trainer Steven Broglio. “Now we know that athletes who continue to play with symptoms while they’re concussed, that they’ll exacerbate those symptoms, they’ll have longer recovery periods and potentially long-term effects.”

Broglio is in Indianapolis as part of the National Athletic Trainers Association conference, where the best in the business are buzzing about Indiana being the first in the nation with a law related to concussions.

“One of the problems that we’re facing in managing concussions and dealing with the injuries is we only have athletic trainers in about 50% of the high schools, so a state law that mandates that coaches, which will be at every practice and every game, have some training where they can recognize the injury and get an athlete out, will definitely go a long way in helping us deal with the injuries,” said Broglio.

Heads Up, a program developed by USA Football, has been approved by the Department of Education and coach training is already underway.

It’s tough to find anyone opposed to the new law, but Broglio would like to see more sports included.

Westfield Head Football Coach Jake Gilbert told FOX59 earlier this year that he fully supports the new law, but he also wonders why football is singled out.

“Youth soccer, youth basketball and lacrosse are just narrowly behind football in terms of concussions,” said Gilbert.

There is already a law on the books that requires anyone under 20 years old with concussion-like symptoms in a game be evaluated and cleared by a doctor to play again. Now starting July 1, they  must also sit out at least 24 hours.

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