Concussion Expert Praises New Law Aimed At Educating Greenwich Kids

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Norwalk concussion expert Katherine Snedaker says a new state law will help schools better track concussions and educate student athletes.
Norwalk concussion expert Katherine Snedaker says a new state law will help schools better track concussions and educate student athletes. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Katherine Snedaker

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk’s Katherine Snedaker is praising a new law Connecticut that requires more concussion education for student athletes.

The new law was signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on May 28 and requires schools to provide concussion education to athletes and parents before students can play sports. It also requires the State Board of Education to develop a concussion education plan and requires local and regional boards of education to compile and report all instances of concussions suffered by students.

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Snedaker said of the new law. “This will help bring Connecticut up to the level of most other states.”

Snedaker is a Norwalk mom and social worker who has worked for years to spread awareness and education on concussions. She is the founder of the Concussion Conference, Sports CAPP, and Pink Concussion, as well as an associate member of the National Sports Concussion Coalition and a member of the advisory council for the National Council for Youth Sports Safety.

Requiring schools to report concussions will be essential to addressing the issue, she said.

“Successful programs track injury rates,” Snedaker said. It will help educators know how many kids are suffering from concussions, and whether they’re getting them in games, in practice or in non-sports activities, she said.

Education is also important, she said. Snedaker recently led three concussion conferences at the Quinnipiac School of Medicine and the UConn-Stamford campus, where she and other experts discussed concussions with more than 200 school nurses. This fall, she will plan more seminars with school leaders so that educators can be better informed on how to recognize and manage concussions in students.

“It doesn’t have to be a difficult process to increase concussion education in the schools,” Snedaker said. Workshops and injury reporting software such as InjureFree, which is free for schools and low cost for youth sports, can be used to help spread awareness to students, parents and coaches on how to manage concussions and ease students back into school and sports.

Concussions made national headlines this week when it was revealed that NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino had filed a lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that they knew about the long-term dangers of concussions. Marino later withdrew from the lawsuit, according to ESPN.com, but Snedaker said having a high-profile athlete talking about concussions brings attention to the issue.

Although she would have liked the new law to address youth sports leagues, she said a committee in Hartford will be looking at possible policy changes in youth sports and should be making recommendations to expand the law in the fall.

“This is a good time to pause and educate people while we track injuries and collect data, and then see where we can next address the issue.”

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Make no mistake about this: this is another chapter in the war on football; with the state limiting and defining allowable practices and other details that are none of its business. Ask these social workers and busybodies what their ideal law would be, and you will find it is mimimum ages and further restrictions on full-contact and other aspects of the game to the degree that little girls can play with the boys.
Put crudely, but accurately, this is all another step in the pussification of the American male.

"...war on football...", interesting, but also predictable. There is a segment of the population that believes in the 'purity' of football, in that concussion restrictions degrade the football 'experience'. A good portion of these purists grew up during the times when getting your 'bell rung', or 'seeing stars', was an acceptable part of play. If you virtually knocked your opponent out, that was a 'good hit'. This was all before evidence had accumulated as to what these hits were actually doing to the both the hitter, and the target victim. In the current age of enlightenment, protection is properly sought to protect young players, and professional players from adverse health consequences from unnecessary hard hits. The focus has been on how hits are made (i.e. don't lead with the head), and how much actual hitting should take place in practices. Professional players have become more concerned about the health of their brain, as well as parents concern for their children. The aspect that there should be no concern, are primarily those on the sideline watching, not those actually involved in the sport itself, as a player. Their brain is safe. This form of thinking, is gradually heading down the same path of the dinosaur, toward extinction.

Actually there are no limits of any kind on football in the new law. Only that football players along with every other sport - and their parents - will receive a flyer or a video link on concussion education. The 90 min full contact practice did not pass.

Now that the schools have to report concussions/head injuries, I believe we will finally see that only 1 out of every 4 concussions are team sports related. Yes, I think team sports are unfairly blamed for concussions. I would like to stem the tide of parents leaving youth sports and have more kids play sports including football.

Thank you, Casey, for your article highlighting the new law. One correction is that the 90 minutes limit on Contact Football did not pass.

However, there are already limits created by CIAC.

CHESHIRE, Conn. – The CIAC Football Committee approved several changes for the 2014 football season at its meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

The Committee voted to make no changes to the dates or format for the 2014 football regular season with Thanksgiving Day remaining as the last date to count for the postseason. The 2014 playoffs will consist of a semifinal round on Saturday 10 days after Thanksgiving and a championship round the following Saturday. This will allow a minimum of one week between each game. Thirty-two teams will still qualify for the postseason in 2014 however final decision on the playoff structure and format will be made at the Committee’s February meeting. The Committee plans to continue to evaluate possibilities for changes to the regular season and postseason schedule for the 2015 season and beyond.

In addition, on the recommendation of the Sports Medicine Committee the following changes on the permitted allotment of person-to-person contact time in practice were approved by the Committee.

After the first five conditioning in which no contact is allowed, for the next three and-a-half weeks prior to the start of the regular season a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 120 minutes during practice plus conduct one full scrimmage or seven-on-seven scrimmage per week under game-like conditions. If a second scrimmage is conducted the time (60 minutes) must be deducted from the 120 minutes allowed. A jamboree is considered a full scrimmage.
From the start of the regular season through Thanksgiving a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 90 minutes per week.
During the post season a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 60 minutes per week.
In spring football a coach may conduct person-to-person contact drills up to 120 minutes in the seven days of allowed contact. One inter-squad scrimmage is allowed but it must be part of the 120 minutes of allowed contact.
Teams may continue to dress in full pads for practices, but should only participate in live action in accordance with the above-stated time guidelines for full contact practice. It is assumed that when players are in shells (shorts, shoulder pads, helmets) no live action will occur. These guidelines are intended to limit live action and not the number of practices a team may participate in using full pads. A team may participate in “air,” “bags,” “wrap,” and “thud” drills and simulations at any point.
The changes were presented to and approved by the CIAC Board of Control at its meeting on January 23rd.