Michigan's New Concussion Law Takes Effect
FOX 47 News
The Holt Rams are getting ready for football season. but an athlete can't hit the field until both player and parent sign this. It's part of Michigan's new concussion law, and by signing it, parents and athletes say that they have received educational material and understand the symptoms of a concussion.
"We need to let them know that it's okay, if you have any doubt. In fact, that's our mantra 'when it doubt sit em out.' And let's be careful. It's just a game," said Rick Schmidt, Holt Public Schools Athletic Director.
The new law doesn't just impact parents; it also affects coaches and volunteers. All adults who assist any organized sports team, from little league to high school football, must take an online training course.
"It will help people recognize the signs a lot sooner than they may have not been able to do before reading the information, so this is a protective measure," said Angela Minicuci, with the Michigan Dept. of Community Health.
These adults must then agree to pull any player with signs of a concussion from a practice or game and not let them play until they receive written clearance from a physician. So, does the law make a coach more liable if they fail to recognize the symptoms?
"It doesn't necessarily hold them accountable, but at least shows that they did the proper research before engaging in the athletic event," said Minicuci.
Though the text of the law does not explicitly mention liability, some say it may dissuade adults from volunteering for fear of being liable if a child is injured. But Holt Athletic Director Rick Schmidt says the law doesn't change a coach's responsibility.
"To be honest with you, coaches have always been liable if something like that happens, and maybe this is just one more piece. I think that the real point of the law is just to make sure we don't have those catastrophic situations, and try to do as much as we can to avoid it," said Schmidt.
One thing is for sure: parents and coaches will be keeping a closer eye out for concussions when the lights turn on for this football season.