Football is back in full swing for our local schools. With it comes the excitement of another season for student athletes and communities. I always enjoy this time of year because it usually means I am back on the sidelines on Friday nights coaching one of my boys and the rest of the team in the sport we love so much. Every weeknight at practice we always work to improve our play on the field but it’s important we remember the safety of our kids should be a top priority.
During the 2014-15 school year, the Indiana High School Athletics Association received around 2,200 reports of concussion-related incidents. Nearly half of those were from football and most of the others were from soccer and wrestling. There is a real and justifiable concern among parents that football, along with other contact sports, can pose a threat to their child’s health.
A couple years ago, I sponsored a bill that later became law, which made Indiana the first state in the nation to require high school coaches pass concussion-recognition training and mandate a 24-hour waiting period before a high school player can return to action after a concussive incident.
This past legislative session, the General Assembly passed a law to improve and expand athletic safety for young athletes.
Beginning in July 2017, all coaches for every public school sport offered to grades five through 12 will be required to complete a course on how to spot symptoms of a concussion. Being able to detect symptoms, such as dizziness or a temporary loss of consciousness, can be the difference between keeping a player on the bench or sending them back out, risking further injury and damage to their young, developing brain. As the parent of a sixth grader and two high school sophomores who play sports, I supported this law because it raises (and requires) awareness about the health and safety of our youth.
Competitive teamwork is an integral part of growing up and sports are a great physical activity for students of all ages. This healthy, good-natured competition can exist in a safe environment. I wish all schools the best of luck in every sport this coming season. Sports bring communities across Indiana together and this year will be no different. Stay safe and have fun!
As we continue to lead Indiana forward, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.