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Va. Commission Sees Progress with Reducing Student Concussions

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Virginia Commission on Youth Virginia Commission on Youth
RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) -

The Virginia Commission on Youth hosted a round-table discussion Tuesday. The group is applauding efforts in the past several years to educate parents, teachers and staff about the dangers of concussions.

Taking a hard hit to the head used to be just a part of playing the game in youth football: a quick check from the trainer, and then back onto the field.

Young players are now likely to see a specialist, and wait on the sidelines.

"It's not something, in most instances, you can look at the individual and say, 'we have a problem,'" said Virginia High School League Assistant Director for Compliance Tom Dolan.

Dolan says the VHSL is concerned with the possibility of concussions in all children's sports, but football, then soccer and lacrosse seem to be pose the greatest chances for hard hits.

In recent years, scientists have urged players and coaches not to shrug off possible concussions.

"We're making strides, and we know a lot now about what we didn't know when we first started this journey," said Shane Caswell, PhD, Professor Athletic Training Education Program at George Mason University.

While they are common, experts say concussions should not be taken lightly. Symptoms like trouble concentrating, confusion, and headaches can all be par for the course. However, without proper rest, a concussion can escalate.

"Every little accident can be compounded in the next accident. And you create that situation where, over time, it becomes a big issue," Dolan said.

Virginia and other states have passed laws to ensure students are not getting back in the game, or even into the classroom too soon.

"Not just number of days, I mean that's important, too, but even lighting. When is it safe to return to a classroom? Or, maybe you can start reading, but under certain lighting," said 41st District Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (D).

The Virginia Commission on Youth wants to focus on reaching families who do not speak English as their first language, as well as work to ensure safety for athletic activities outside school. Lawmakers said Tuesday they might take these ideas and create new bills for the next session of the General Assembly.

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