Have you heard? Youth concussion legislation passed in the state Legislature yesterday and soon will be signed into law. It will go a long way to protect all kids in Wisconsin.
As a pediatric sports medicine and concussion specialist, every day I see young athletes whose concussions have caused significant problems. Without a doubt, we know that young athletes are more vulnerable, because their brains are still developing.
Concussions must be properly managed to reduce the risk of long-term complications. Concussions don’t just keep kids off the field, they also affect them socially, mentally and in school. That’s why I worked with legislators and other advocates to introduce and pass youth sports concussion legislation.
When the legislation becomes law in a few weeks, it will provide athletes and parents with education about concussion and put meaningful standards in place to address head injuries in youth sports. This includes requirements to remove an athlete with a suspected concussion from play and prevent him or her from returning without clearance from a trained health care provider.
Now, all young athletes, from high school to club sports, will have the same measure of protection. Education is a continuing process and needs to involve everyone who interacts with youth athletes. Coaches, athletes and parents must be aware of the signs, symptoms and effects of concussion.
So many organizations and individuals helped make this legislation possible. I’m proud to say I was one of them.
- Kevin Walter, MD, pediatric sports medicine specialist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Dr. Walter is the program director of Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and assistant professor of Orthopedics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.