Larry Smith, a parent whose son played football for years
Dr. Mike Busman, Family Medicine & Sports Medicine Physician
Debbie Zinsmeyer, a parent and nurse whose son played football for years
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
A new state law designed
to improve safety for student athletes is now in effect.
Georgia's Return to Play
Act of 2013 requires coaches to pull kids displaying signs of concussions off
the fields for medical evaluation.
The law will keep children
who've suffered head injuries from playing until they're cleared by a doctor. Some say it sounds good,
but others worry it won't work. The players dashing
down the field each game now have extra protection.
"It's always in the back of your
mind when any of your children play sports that, you know, there's always a
chance that it could happen," said Larry Smith, Parent.
A new state law requires coaches to
pull players who may have suffered a concussion out of the game.
"Basically, what it does it makes
people aware of what they are and what dangers it could lead to," said Dr.
Mike Busman, Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Physician.
Busman said recognizing concussions
can be tricky. He said removing injured
players from games is essential before they get hit again.
"It could cause loss of
consciousness, bleeds on the brain, swelling on the brain, and could lead to
death,” he said.
Those suffering head injuries will
have to get medical clearance before they can return to the field. Parents support the idea.
"Back in the old times,
especially when I went to school and stuff like that, they'd let players play
hurt all the time," said Smith.
Part of the law will require that
parents are given information sheets explaining the risks of concussions and
other head related injuries. But not all
parents think it's going to make a difference.
"If nothing else, it should bring
coaches and teachers to the forefront to maybe fight for those individuals,”
said Debbie Zinsmeyer, Parent / Nurse.
Zinsmeyer said she worried about her
son's safety when he played football. She
questions how the bill will be enforced.
"I think kids grow up, especially
in smaller towns where football is the main thing they do as far as sports, and
they grow up with a mentality that it's macho and you need to get out there and
you need to give it your best," she said.
But safety above all else could become
the new mantra.
Doctors said concussions
are fairly common among younger athletes, especially in high contact sports
like football and soccer. They said
younger athletes are also more prone to second impact syndrome, leading to more
Georgia is the latest of several states since
2009 to enact legislation aimed at improving safety for student athletes.