Majority Establishes Head Injury Awareness And Prevention Act

July 02, 2010

Creates programs to help in prevention and recognition of concussions

In an effort spearheaded by Senator William T. Stachowski (D-Lake View), the Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation (S8420/Stachowski) to establish the Head Injury Awareness and Prevention Act. The Act creates several programs that will improve early intervention and response of coaches and parents by educating them on the proper evaluation and management of concussions.
Reported mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), more commonly known as concussions, occur at all levels of sports as well as in schools gyms and playgrounds. According to the New York State Department of health, between 2006 and 2008 more than 23,000 school aged youths in our state visited the emergency room or were hospitalized for concussions annually.
Some of the provisions in the Act include:

  • Establishes the New York State Head Injury Awareness and Prevention Program;
  • Creates an advisory board of experts in the area of concussion diagnosis, treatment and management to serve as advisors to departments and school districts;
  • Establishes the Interscholastic Sports Head Injury Awareness Program;
  • Creates a program—All Activity Head Injury Awareness and Outreach Program— to provide detailed information for teachers, students and parents  and guardians on identifying head injuries during any form of activity.

“Thousands of school aged children in New York State visit the emergency room each year with concussions,” said Senator Stachowski, the bill’s sponsor. “Because many concussions happen while students are playing sports on school teams, in gym class, and even accidentally in the classroom, it is extremely important to have properly trained individuals on hand who can correctly evaluate the signs and symptoms of a concussion.  Coaches, teachers, administrators, parents, guardians, and students themselves should be educated in recognizing these symptoms.  This legislation will do just that by establishing the New York State Head Injury Awareness and Prevention Program.  The program will prepare school personnel and others through training courses, the distribution of educational materials  and a dedicated website.  When it comes to head injuries especially, immediate medical treatment is critical. Recognizing and properly evaluating the signs of a concussion that happens on school grounds will spare many young people potentially life threatening injuries.”
Senator Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn/Manhattan) said, “Organized sports can be one of the most valuable experiences in a young person's life, but the effects of brain injuries on young athletes have been devastating.  This legislation will help make sports safer for young athletes by increasing education and awareness about head injuries.  Over the past few months, I was proud to have hosted a roundtable on this issue and work with Senators Stachowski, Foley, and Hannon, as well as the Brain Injury Association of New York State, St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, and other advocates on this legislation to protect our young athletes.”
Senator Stachowski concluded, “I am very pleased this important measure has been approved by the Senate and look forward to its passage by the Assembly now.”