New Jersey Governor Signs Brain Injury Awareness Legislation

There is no such thing as a “mild” concussion, according to recent scientific research. Every brain injury is a traumatic brain injury and requires careful medical follow up.

Recent studies have shown that young athletes are increasingly suffering from concussions at an alarming rate. This marked increase in student athlete brain injuries prompted the United States Congress to consider the passage of the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act. This is an important piece of legislation. First, it will educate the public about concussions and would dispel the myth that they are mild injuries. Second, it will protect school-age children by establishing preventative guidelines, educational policies and standardized treatment procedures.

New Jersey has taken notice of the importance of addressing this issue and has followed suit, passing legislation that creates a multi-pronged concussion awareness and prevention program. As explained in this NJ.com blog post, like the federal legislation discussed above, the New Jersey law focuses on the protection and treatment of injured student athletes:

The strictest part of New Jersey’s law states student-athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion will be immediately removed from participation and not allowed to return to athletic activity until he or she is evaluated by a concussion specialist.

The Brain Injury Association of America estimates 3.8 million sports-and-recreation-related concussions occur in the country each year. Approximately 40.5 percent of high school athletes who suffer from concussions return to play too soon, setting themselves up for more severe injuries, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy in Ohio.

Like the federal legislation, the New Jersey law helps to emphasize the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries, like concussions, and aids in the prevention and treatment of concussions in child athletes. Kudos to Governor Christie for signing this law and for raising awareness about this important issue.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.