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Calif. Toughens Student-Athlete Concussion Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law legislation that requires youth athletic coaches to undergo concussion training, amending the state's youth-concussion law passed in 2011.

As originally passed, the law contained all three provisions of the NFL's model concussion legislation: Parents or guardians were required to sign concussion-information forms before their children could participate in school sports; any student-athlete suspected of a concussion had to be immediately removed from play; and such student-athletes couldn't return to play until cleared by a licensed medical professional.

Like a law recently passed in New Hampshire, California's original measure did not include any formal language about requiring coaches to undergo concussion training. (Only about half the state laws on concussions include such language.)

Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, the sponsor of California's original youth-concussion law, introduced an amendment targeting training for coaches earlier this year. Coaches will be required to undergo concussion training every two years under the legislation, according to the Sacramento Bee.

After it was unanimously passed by the state Assembly and Senate, Brown signed the legislation this past Friday.

"I would like to thank the governor for signing this bill and taking California another step forward in protecting the health of our student-athletes," said Hayashi in a statement after the signing. "Because kids still believe they need to be tough and play through injuries, it's critical that coaches have the training to recognize concussions and take players out of the game as soon as possible."

It boils down to this: If coaches don't recognize the symptoms of a concussion, how can they know when to pull players to examine them for a possible concussion? And, since coaches will be the adults who spend the most time with their teams, concussion training (or a lack thereof) becomes that much more crucial.

In a story I wrote last year, experts advocated annual concussion training for coaches, school nurses, athletic trainers, and other adults involved in youth sports.

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