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Montana youth concussion bill garners major support

More and more people these days are coming to understand that, with head injuries, the risks are high. When a person has a concussion that goes undiagnosed, there is the risk that another concussion will lead to second-impact syndrome. In such a case, traumatic brain injury or even death can occur.

Recently in Montana, community members from an array of backgrounds turned out to support "The Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athletes Act." If passed, the bill would require school districts to implement policies that directly address the problem of concussions among young athletes. In particular, student athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion would have to sit out from the game, and he or she would have to get medical clearance before playing the sport again.

Twenty-four Montanans testified in support of the bill. One Missoula athletic trainer had this to say: "Athletes, parents, coaches and officials in Montana are not properly educated or cared for, and because of this, short-term and long-term health and the ability to function and learn in the classroom and in life are being affected."

Montana is one of seven states that have not yet adopted a bill that addresses the problem of head injuries among young athletes. The current bill is named after a young man who passed away in 2010 as the result of a concussion suffered in a football scrimmage. The young man's mother testified at the hearing, saying, "If we can keep one child and one family from suffering the tragedy we have suffered, the value of passing this bill will be immeasurable."

Undoubtedly, the proposed measure is a much-needed step in the right direction. For Montanans who would like to learn more about legal matters pertaining to traumatic brain injuries, our Bozeman personal injury site is there to help.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Bill to address youth concussions draws big support," Charles S. Johnson, Feb. 1, 2013

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