Welcome to 2013! If your kids participate in sports this year, you should know that Wisconsin’s concussion law requires all youth athletic organizations, from recreational leagues to clubs or school sports, to educate coaches, athletes and parents about concussions. Everyone should be aware of the signs and effects of concussion, because education is a key part of ensuring kids get the best care.
I worked with colleagues on the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to help Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction develop concussion fact sheets for athletes and parents.
The legislation prevents kids from participating in an activity until they, and their parents or guardians, have returned a signed agreement sheet indicating they have reviewed the concussion and head injury informational materials.
If a young athlete shows signs or symptoms of a concussion, the law requires that he or she immediately be removed from an athletic activity. The athlete may not participate again until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives written clearance from that provider to return to the activity.
When it comes to concussion and kids, remember this: When in doubt, hold them out. If the athlete has a concussion, he or she should not return to play that day or while still having symptoms.
- 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.