New law will require tackle football programs to provide concussion information to parents, guardians

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – A new law will require tackle football programs across New York to provide parents/guardians with informational packets on concussions and sub-concussive blows.

The law signed by Governor Cuomo on Monday won’t go into effect for 90 days and therefore won’t apply for the current football season.

Any practice, game, or other activity in which children participate in tackle football and is organized by a school, league, or adult-run organization will be required to follow the law.

It’s unclear how the state plans to enforce the new law or what sort of concussion information the packets will include.

Dr. Karen Odrzywolski, a neurologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital, said the packets will likely rehash what is already known, but may be difficult for parents to understand.

“Awareness of a potential concussion is the key to preventing more problems and the awareness can be tricky sometimes. It’s not always straight forward. Sometimes a concussion can manifest itself in subtle behavioral changes such as increased forgetfulness, difficulty focusing or inappropriate crying,” said Odrzywolski.

The informational packets must available free of charge to parents/guardians on the football programs’ websites. They will also be posted on the NYS Department of Health’s website when the law goes into effect.

Odrzywolski said she believes the new legislation will reduce the risk of injury to student-athletes simply by requiring parent/guardians to be informed.

To download or print the NYSDOH’s current concussion guidelines for parents click here; for coaches and sports officials click here.

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