Kicking off a new school year also means the start to the fall sports season. As a softball coach for 27 years and a father of children who participated in athletics, I know that safety always comes first. Sports should be fun, but in order to maintain that fun, safety must be put before anything else, including winning.
After sustaining a head injury, it is important athletes are healthy before they start physical activity again. Hoosiers also need to be well informed on precautions, symptoms and the proper steps to take once an injury occurs. Concussions are a serious threat, which can have long-lasting effects on the brain. Symptoms may not become apparent until days or weeks after the injury, which is why concussions are known as the “invisible injury.” Once an athlete sustains a concussion, they have a higher likelihood of experiencing more concussions down the road. Through education, we can help decrease the number of injuries.
As a lawmaker, I worked with fellow policymakers to increase safety for our student athletes. This year we passed a law requiring coaches to complete a safety education course to better prevent and identify head injuries in student athletes. The head coach or assistant coach of an interscholastic sport must be certified in a player safety education course by July of next year.
Currently, athletes who are suspected of having a concussion are not able to return to play until they have been evaluated by and received clearance from a qualified health-care provider. This new law takes an additional step in keeping our athletes safe by ensuring coaches can detect warning signs of a concussion and prevent further, more serious injuries. Coaches who complete the required training will be protected under this law unless there is evidence of gross negligence.
As always, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9833 or by email at email@example.com. I appreciate hearing from you in order to better represent our district. Stay up-to-date with the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/75.
Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.
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