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Va. Senator Offers Guidelines For Concussions In Student Athletes

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By Rebecca Blatt

Young athletes in Virginia who suffer concussions playing sports would be sidelined under a bill being considered by a state house subcommittee today.

The measure would force coaches to bench players who've had severe blows to the head until they've been cleared by a doctor. It would also require that schools provide information about concussions to student athletes each year. Athletes and their parents or guardians would have to sign statements acknowledging that they have received the materials.

The bill's sponsor, Senator Ralph Northam, is a neurologist. His proposal comes after increased scrutiny of brain injuries in major college and professional sports, particularly the National Football League. A half-dozen other states are toughening safeguards against concussions.

Virginia associations of athletic trainers and the Virginia High School League are backing Northam's proposal.

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