A crowd of students, student athletes and cheerleaders from Ponte Vedra High School surrounded Florida Governor Rick Scott today as he signed the Youth Athletes bill into law.
The bill passed unanimously through the state House and Senate, which Scott admits is not an easy thing to do.
Scott says about 90% of student athlete injuries are concussions, but the gravity of that injury was not taken seriously until now.
“As students, parents and fans, we cheer when a hit is made to win the game, but we often fail to realize the implications of that hit,” he says.
Concussions have the potential to leave lasting impacts on the students who suffer them, especially those who suffer more than one. Symptoms range from ringing in your ears to dizziness and a range of other problems. Over time, that can build in to something worse, especially if not handled properly.
Under the new law, student athletes must be immediately removed from play if they suffer a head injury.
“It was you got injured on the field- you got your bell rung- they dragged you to the side of the field, you counted a random number of fingers, you shook it off and they used to put you back in the game, but few realized how critical that situation was,” says Ponte Vedra State Representative Doc Renuart, who sponsored the bill.
Now, an athlete can only return to the game once he or she has been cleared by a doctor.
Additionally, the bill also takes preventative action, requiring parents to sign informed consent forms on the dangers of concussions before allowing the student to join a team.