The Centers for Disease Control says the number of children and teens going to the emergency room with head injuries, including concussions rose 60% over the past decade.
Don Bailey of the Forest Hills Rangers has seen quite a few hits on the field during his 39 years as a head coach. He likes the new law but says coaches have already begun more closely monitoring head injuries.
Coach Bailey says, "some of the things before we never thought would be a concussion, like maybe not a big hit in the head and still getting a concussion, we're now more aware of those things."
Jim Stricek is an athletic trainer in the Brockway School District and also sits on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society. He's seen a change in the way hits to the head are regarded. "It used to be with a concussion that it would be 'oh I got my bell rung,'" "Well, that's a concussion," he says.
As required by the new law, coaches, parents and kids know more about concussions than they used to. Coaches now must be certified in concussion management and parents and student athletes must sign an information sheet on the injury.
The law also mandates that an athlete with concussion symptoms be removed from the game. The student must then be cleared by a medical professional, in writing, to return to play.
"If we don't identify it and help them recover fully and if they sustain another concussion before they're fully recovered, that can lead to more resistant problems," says Dr. Matt Bridgman, a neuropsychologist at DuBois Regional Medical Center.
According to the CDC, Most sports and recreation-related brain injuries in kids occur in males and most often they involve football or bicycling.
Information Pennsylvania's new concussion law