As I began my first year coaching high school soccer, I received an e-mail from the head coach telling me that I had to complete an online concussion course by September 1st. The course teaches coaches how to detect the symptoms of a concussion, requires them to alert the player’s parents and instructs coaches to hold players out of the game until the players are cleared by a medical professional to return to play. I was surprised to learn that this course was mandated by law in Minnesota. At least 20 other states have similar laws.
The law is not designed to prevent concussions, rather its purpose is to detect post-concussive symptoms and ensure that it is safe for the young players who may have taken a blow to the head to return to the sport. The overall response to the law seems to be very positive. However, there have been reports in which some coaches fear that the law “ties their hands” and may unnecessarily force them to hold players out, in addition to possibly forcing parents to pay for a medical professional to evaluate their child. Alternatively, it also prevents coaches from having to make a potentially tough call in a big game.
Having personally sustained several sports-related concussions, I personally believe that this is an excellent and necessary mandate. What do you think?