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New Jersey, Virginia Weigh Concussion-Related Laws

Two more states, New Jersey and Virginia, are weighing legislation relating to sports and concussions.

In the Garden State, Sen. Richard Codey (D-Essex) Monday introduced a bill that mandates that licensed athletic trainers take 24 hours of continuing education in sports medicine as a condition of their biennial license renewal. And four hours of that education would have to relate to concussions and brain injuries.

But the proposed law drew criticism from the Athletic Trainers Society of New Jersey, which complained that it had not been consulted on the legislation. The group said that trainers are already required to take 75 hours of continuing education during a three-year period in order to retain their licenses.

Then in Virginia, a House of Delegates subcommittee Thursday passed a bill that will make the state Board of Education develop guidelines to identify and treat concussions in student athletes.

That bill was sponsored by Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), and now will go to the full House of Education Committee. Northam is a pediatric neurologist.

The legislation mandates that student athletes who are suspected of having a concussion be benched during practice or a game, and get approval from a licensed health-care professional before coming back to play.

It will be interesting to see what each state comes up with for the definition and risks factors for concussion.

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