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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Signs Youth-Concussion Law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed his state's youth-concussion legislation into law last week, making New York the 33rd state (not counting the District of Columbia) to pass such a law.

The law, also known as the "Concussion Management and Awareness Act," contains the three key provisions that the National Football League considers ideal: parents of student-athletes must sign a permission slip before their kids can participate in practice or games; any student-athlete suspected of a concussion must immediately be removed from play; and any student-athlete with a concussion must obtain medical clearance before returning to play.

The New York law actually goes one step further, requiring coaches, physical education teachers, school nurses, and athletic trainers to undergo biennial concussion training.

The NFL, which has urged all 50 states to adopt youth-concussion legislation, was quick to praiseRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader Gov. Cuomo for signing the legislation.

New York state Sen. Mike Nozzolio, who co-sponsored the legislation, announced the signing of the law on his website Thursday.

"School athletic programs, intramural sports, and physical education classes are an important part of the educational experience at every school district in our state. It is important that we make this experience as safe as possible for our student-athletes and ensure that every school is prepared to treat and monitor concussions and other brain injuries," said Sen. Nozzolio. "This legislation is critical in reducing the risk of these injuries causing long-term damage and will encourage parents, students, and coaches to take preventative steps to avoid serious head injury."

Don't underestimate the importance of this law spelling out which school staff members are responsible for undergoing concussion training. Only roughly half the states' concussion laws specifically require concussion training for coaches and hardly any extend the required training past coaches.

Concussion-training policies have been "too vaguely written in some of the states' laws," said Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, the founding founding director of the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, to me earlier this year. (Dr. Guskiewicz was named a "genius grant" recipient by the MacArthur Foundation earlier this week.)

"While difficult to police or regulate, [defined training policies] would eliminate the confusion and would improve care," he said.

For more on states' youth-concussion laws, check out my story from over the summer.

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