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Mississippi Lawmakers Aiming to Enact Youth-Concussion Legislation in 2014

Entering 2014, Mississippi was the only U.S. state without any form of youth-concussion legislation.

A group of lawmakers in the state House and Senate hope to change that in the coming months, per the Clarion Ledger.

On Jan. 7, the first day of Mississippi's legislative session, state House public health chairman Sam Mims introduced a bill that mirrors the legislation passed by many other states. The bill would require parents to sign a concussion policy before the start of the season, student-athletes suspected of a concussion must be removed from play immediately, and any student-athlete who has sustained a concussion wouldn't be allowed to return to play until receiving medical clearance from a health-care provider.

Two days later, the bill passed the House by a vote of 117-1. State Sen. Brice Wiggins introduced mirror legislation in the Senate on Jan. 10, which has been referred to the Senate committee on public health and welfare.

"This puts into law what's kind of already going on in the state, a protocol for concussion injuries," Wiggins said to the Clarion Ledger. "... Research shows that if you allow a child to sit out before returning to play ... it's the best thing for them health wise."

Similar legislation died in a House committee in 2012. A handful of youth-concussion bills were introduced during the 2013 legislative session, but none made it out of committees.

At the Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Oct. 2011, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell stated his goal to have all 50 states adopt youth-concussion laws "sooner rather than later." If the Mississippi Senate holds up its end of the bargain, Goodell's wish will have finally come true.

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