A proposed North Carolina bill would allow parents -- in addition to healthcare providers, as previously mandated -- to put players back into games after suffering concussions.
It tweaks North Carolina’s existing concussion legislation, the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act, which dictates students cannot return to gameplay until a medical professional or athletic trainer evaluates their injuries.
Bill 116 would allow a parent to evaluate the student in the place of a medical professional or trainer, potentially giving parents the ability to send their concussed child back into the competition.
On its face, House Bill 116 seems like it would have the potential to do some good.
As WNCT9 in Greenville reports, it mandates education on concussions, heat-related illness, and sudden cardiac arrest to those involved in school sports. It would also implement a database for reporting game-related injuries. Important, right?
“I don’t want to bash anything that supports student safety in athletics,” ECU’s director of athletic training, Dr. Katie Flanagan, told Vocativ. “However, our state has a very robust concussion law.
“... I’ll preface by saying I’m not a parent, but I don’t believe HB 116 is in the best interest of the athletes.”
According to an Indianapolis study of young football players from 2012-14, high school football players are more likely to need more recovery time from a concussion than those in college. However, younger players are also more likely to get back on the field sooner. This is in part due to the difficulty in identifying and expressing their symptoms to parents or coaches.
High school players also have more developing to do than older football players, and concussions can hinder that growth.
So, to put all this in perspective, parents of athletes who may not be able to express their symptoms can now examine their child after a concussion, determine whether or not they are fine, and send them back into a game or competition, where they could be subject to further injury and exacerbation. Seems foolproof.