Protect W.Va.’s young athletes from the dangers of concussions

I write this letter to draw attention to a bill currently pending in the W.Va. Legislature. SB 336 – relating to the management of concussions and head injuries in WV SSAC high school or middle school student athletes – will require an individual suspected of having a concussion be removed from competition or practice immediately and not allowed to return to play until cleared by a health care professional. The bill is designed to protect the health and safety of W.Va. student athletes.

The CDC reports an estimated 3.9 million concussions in sports and recreation each year. High school athletes who have been concussed are three times more likely to sustain another concussion in the same season. Continuing to play or practice with a concussion or symptoms of a head injury leaves the student athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury, and/or death.

There are 43 states in the U.S. that have laws relating to concussion management and 6 states, including W.Va., have legislation pending before their governing bodies.

Therefore, in conjunction with the West Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association, I strongly encourage legislators and all citizens of WV to support SB 336 in order to provide maximum protection for West Virginia’s student athletes.

Kristopher Smith

Athletic Trainer, The Linsly School