New Guidelines Surrounding Concussions in Student-Athletes Are Changing the Game
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Student-athletes have more to worry about on the field than just winning the game.
Lawmakers in Richmond are requiring school divisions to regularly update concussion policies and procedures in efforts to keep students safe on and off the field.
Student-athletes and coaches at Charlottesville High School (CHS) said it's a step toward student safety as more research shows the harmful and lasting impacts of concussions.
When it's time for a game-winning goal or a buzzer-beating shot, most student-athletes don't have safety as a top priority.
Margaret Neale, a sophomore soccer player at CHS, said, “We’ve seen over the years definitely more concussions and I know here we've always taken them very seriously.”
Lawmakers are taking action by improving education to students and parents about the risks of concussions in efforts to prevent players from returning to the game with the injury.
“It shows that the whole state is becoming more aware and they're putting procedures in place to take care of athletes across the state,” stated Rod Redd, director of student activities at CHS.
The new law requires the Board of Education to update its policies every two years. The board will review procedures including criteria to remove a student from a game and when the player can return.
“It needs to be taken seriously for students and student-athletes health but you know what we found through the years is that it can, concussions and the after-effects can affect you in the classroom and can even affect you in everyday life,” said Redd.
The law also requires each school division to update its concussion identification process and other procedures every two years. Charlottesville City Schools already has this implemented.
“We have a concussion team that consists of myself, a principal, our athletic trainer - and a community member and two doctors from UVA that meet on a yearly basis to update our concussion protocol," noted Redd. “I feel like we've been kind of ahead of the curve on it."
Some student-athletes said they're grateful for the law saying it showed the schools are keeping an eye out for them when they might be focused on a game-time win.
“It definitely makes me feel more cared about I think it shows about how much they're caring about our safety and what's going on beyond just what's on the field," said Neale.
The new law will officially take effect in July 2019.
If you would like to learn more about the concussion policies and procedures at Charlottesville High School you can visit here.