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Youth concussion bill heads to governor's desk

11:35 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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A bill that would increase safety measures in youth sports is headed to Governor Bill Haslam's desk.

That's after the house passed legislation Thursday that would put in place more regulations for dealing with youth at risk for concussions.

The law would require administrators, coaches, parents and kids who play sports to get educated about the signs, symptoms, and impacts of concussions.

It would also mean any athlete under the age of 18 be required to leave the field if they're experiencing concussion-like symptoms.

And before they could return, the law would require a doctor to sign-off.

Christian Academy of Knoxville Athletic Director Steve Denny says the potential law won't change much about their program.

He says they already fulfill an education component.

"We make sure that our coaches have material at the beginning of the year to make sure they're recognizing what symptoms and things to look for," says Denny.

Medical experts on the sidelines during CAK games and practices examine any athlete who takes a heavy hit or shows signs of distress.

And the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association already requires students of member schools, such as CAK, to be cleared by a doctor for practice.

Denny says he thinks the law's biggest impact would be on younger athletes.

The new rules would apply to public and private school athletic programs as well as any youth league sport that charges a fee.

The Centers for Disease Control would develop the educational material and would provide it free of charge.

Governor Haslam is expected to sign the bill. It would make Tennessee the 44th state to pass similar legislation, including the District of Columbia.

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