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New West Virginia law aimed at preventing youth head injuries

There are thousands of young athletes in West Virginia participating in dozens of different sports almost every day. A large percentage of these events occur with little or no injuries. However, there have been an increasing number of young athletes who suffer head injuries while participating in some of these sports.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ER's across America treat more than 173,000 thousand sports and recreation brain injuries in youth. A new law set to go into affect in West Virginia in July is taking aim to protect these young athletes from brain injuries. Any athlete that shows signs of a concussion must immediately be removed from the action, according to the law. The law also states that anyone involved in youth athletics be taught the risks of playing with a head injury. Also, if someone does suffer a concussion it must be reported to officials within a month.

Despite these measures, one advocate for brain injury patients says that officials need to do more. He says that coaches and trainers, as well as parents, need to have a better understanding of concussions. Many times kids feel pressure to return to action too quickly while concussion symptoms are still present. This can lead to further problems as well increase risk for suffering another concussion.

It's important for those who oversee youth athletic events to make sure that the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that these young athletes are protected from harm. If someone is injured while playing a sport because of another person's carelessness or negligence, then that person may be entitled to compensation.

Source: West Virginia Gazette, "Concussion law could do more, advocate says," Lori Kersey, June 8, 2013

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