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Governor Chris Christie Signs Comprehensive Concussion Safety Bill to Protect New Jersey’s Student-Athletes

NFL Commissioner, Owners of NY Giants and NY Jets,  Former NFL Players, Legislators, Safe Kids NJ, Brain Injury Association of NJ and others join Governor Christie for Bill Signing Ceremony

Governor Chris Christie signed A-2743, legislation to protect and prevent concussions in student-athletes across New Jersey’s interscholastic youth sports programs. The bill adopts a multi-faceted approach, requiring the Department of Education (DOE) to develop an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program to be completed by school physicians, coaches and athletic trainers of public and nonpublic school interscholastic sports programs.

“We’ve all seen the tragic results that can occur from sports-related concussions in both student and professional athletes. It’s our obligation and responsibility to put the health and safety of our children first, and use the best research and evidence to protect them in the most effective way possible,” said Governor Christie. “I’m proud to sign this forward-looking and comprehensive safety measure into law to ensure that the health and well-being of our young athletes comes first with increased education, awareness and prevention.”

The program that will be developed by the Department of Education will include the recognition of symptoms of head and neck injuries, and will address the appropriate amount of time a student-athlete must wait before returning to sports competition or practice after sustaining an injury. In addition, it will help ensure that school physicians, coaches and athletic trainers are properly trained to be able to identify a concussion as well as utilize the proper response during interscholastic sporting events. Each school district, with the assistance of DOE, will be required to develop a written policy concerning the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes.  Currently, there is no uniform method of handling suspected concussions in interscholastic sports.

“We appreciate Governor Christie’s meaningful and proactive stand on protecting our young athletes by signing this comprehensive concussion safety legislation today,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “By improving education, training and treatment, we can increase concussion awareness and work to prevent these injuries among our youngest athletes, not only in football, but in all sports.”.

Concussions are caused by a blow or motion to the head or body that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain and can cause significant and sustained neuropsychological impairments. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur every year.

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