New law hopes to bench concussions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New law hopes to bench concussions

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Attention parents, if you're child gets a concussion or is suspected of having one while playing sports they soon won't be allowed back in the game until being cleared by a medical professional. It's part of a new law signed into law to protect young athletes. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell congratulated our governor on Thursday's signing. It follows the NFL's recent movement toward treating concussions more seriously, and evaluating players after being injured.

Of course football is one of the most dangerous sports but there are several other contact sports, including soccer that send roughly 135,000 athletes to emergency rooms each year for traumatic brain injuries.

If you've ever played a sport, you know that when you're focused on the game, nothing else matters. There's often a sense of toughness that drive you to push through the pain. But this new law will sidelines players who show any sign of brain injury, until an expert clears them to play.

There's no if, ands or buts about it. When it comes to using your head in sports like soccer, it's dangerous.

"Well I've seen balls to the head, some kicks to the head," Clarke University athletic training student Ben Larson said.

"It's a very contact sport, like, there's a lot of shoving, pushing you. You hit each other all the time. Injuries quite often from the game," high school junior midfielder Natalie Dieters said.

Dieters and teammate Mandy Potter were watching Thursday night's Hempstead varsity game. They said watching their teammates play is more nerve wracking then actually playing, especially when someone uses their head.

"You're just kind of like 'huh' that pause for a second to make sure they're okay. But when it hits your head on it kinda takes you back for a second but you kind of just shake it off and keep going," Potter said.

But that's the very reason Governor Branstad signed the new law. It covers all athletes, 7th-12th, and authorizes a coach or official to bench a player who shows signs of a concussion. That athlete can't play or practice until a doctor or athletic trainer clears them to participate. Trainers said that's worth it in the long term.

"Brain damage, not being able to move or function right. Just the chemicals that happen in the brain just throw everything off balance and you're not able to function like you normally are," Larson said.

Parents are also involved in this new law. All parents must sign a form that explains the symptoms of a concussion before any athlete can participate. The law goes into effect July 1st.

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