Wisconsin has a bill on youth athlete concussions pending, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week did a nice job of humanizing that issue.
The paper, in a story headlined “Bill on concussions hits home with injured teen,” did a profile of Josh Inhof, a West Bend, Wis., 15-year-old. The article outlined what happened when Josh sustained a concussion, one that wasn’t immediately recognized.
On Oct. 10 Josh was at junior varsity football practice, where he took a bad hit at West Bend East High School. The teen walked over to talk to his father Steven, who was coaching a team on a nearby field.
Josh told his dad he had “got rocked” at practice. But his father didn’t think of a concussion, he just told Josh to take an aspirin for the headache he now had, according to the Journal Sentinel.
Two days later, Josh was back playing. He was hit twice at that game, and wound up unconscious on the sidelines. In that emergency situation, Josh was ultimately transported by a Flight for Life helicopter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
Josh was hospitalized for two days. He was advised to recuperate and stay home from school.
The Journal Sentinel weaves John’s story in with an update of Wisconsin’s concussion pending legislation. Its bill mandates that if a student athlete is believed to have sustained a head injury, coaches have to remove he or she from the game or practice. That athlete couldn’t return to action until undergoing an evaluation by a doctor who is trained in managing concussions. And the player would need written permission to resume playing.
Wisconsin’s bill is pending a vote by the state Assembly. The state Senate is likely to consider a similar bill.
Wisconsin’s bill would be applicable to public schools, private schools, athletic clubs and other organizations, according to the Journal Sentinel, which reported that 36 states, and the District of Columbia, now have laws regarding youths and concussions.
Wisconsin should be state No. 37.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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