Parents Talk: Has the New Concussion Law Helped or Hurt?
With the first seasons of soccer, football and hockey complete, we want to know what you think.
About a month ago, the state's top hockey teams competed in the state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, marking the end of the first season after a new law focused on sports-related concussions went into effect.
The law sets rules for how schools should respond to students with concussions, and it gives guidance to parents and students who might not understand the consequences of traumatic brain injuries.
For information about the new law, see the attached PDF.
Students who play high-impact sports such as hockey, football or soccer sustain the greatest number of concussions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"[The Minnesota Department of Health estimates] roughly 1,000 athletes between ages 5 and 19 are hospitalized for sports-related concussions every year in this state," according to a January article in the Star Tribune.
St. Louis Park football coach Vince Varpness praised the new legislation in September.
"I think it's an excellent law to help protect all athletes throughout the state," he said.
Some schools, such as Richfield High School, had a concussion management program in place prior to the new law.
“We’re building some data ... [and] I can tell you the number of head injuries have been greatly reduced over the last two years as a result [of our efforts]," said Todd Olson, Richfield High School's athletic director.
Also in September, Hopkins’ Activities Director Dan Johnson said, "I think it's always a good thing to take measures so that our athletes can be safer. We know so little about the effect of concussions and we want to be especially concerned with the long-term health of our student athletes."
Patch local editors Caitlin Burgess, James Warden and Michael Rose contributed to this report, as did freelance writer John Hageman.
Minnesota schools now have completed the first seasons of football, soccer and hockey after the new law was instituted. Do you think it has had a positive or a negative effect on high school sports? Vote in our poll.
Explain your answers in the comments. If you think more steps need to be taken, share your thoughts below.