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Thiele: Legislation Helps Protect Students From Harmful Effects Of Brain Injuries

Originally Posted: July 05, 2011


Sag Harbor - Fred Thiele states "Concussions are serious brain injuries that alter the way a brain functions. Headaches, dizziness and amnesia are only some of the effects concussions can cause. If left untreated, further, long-term injuries may occur. That's why I supported a bill that would establish rules and regulations for school personnel when they are monitoring students who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries (A.8194). The measure has passed the Assembly and the Senate and is awaiting the governor's signature to become law.

The legislation would require the State Education Department (SED), in conjunction with the state Health Department (DOH), to establish head-injury guidelines for schools across the state. Under the bill, school coaches, physical education teachers, nurses and athletic trainers would be required to undergo head-injury training to learn the symptoms of a concussion and to seek medical treatment for an injured student.

It would also require student athletes who may have had a concussion to be immediately removed from games. Their return to athletic activity would only be permitted following a 24-hour period of being symptom-free and with the approval of a physician. In addition, the measure would mandate the SED and DOH to post information on their websites about the warning signs of a concussion, as well as the conditions that would allow a student, who has been diagnosed with a concussion, to resume his or her participation in school athletics.

Concussions are usually caused by a blow to the head, but they can also happen when the head and upper body are violently shaken. Typically, symptoms are temporary, but some persist, lasting for days, weeks or even longer. For example, problems that may occur after a concussion are trouble with concentration, memory, judgment, balance and coordination. The signs of a concussion can be subtle and may not be instantly obvious. That's why it's particularly important that school personnel are knowledgeable about brain injuries.

We can't prevent students from getting concussions on school property, but we can help reduce their long-term effects. Effective, precautionary measures must be established. Fast and proper reactions are vital in curbing the dire long-term consequences of brain injuries. This bill helps to serve that purpose. I'll continue fighting to ensure that East End students' health and well-being are protected."




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