Concussion law passed to protect athletes

A new Illinois law was passed to protect student athletes in the event of a concussion. Photo courtesy of

Jenna Thomas, Assistant Sports Editor

A new Illinois state law was put into place on Monday August 3rd, 2015 regarding concussions. According to the IHSA website, if an athlete suffers a concussion, they are now required to get a doctor’s permission before they can return to class or sports. Each school will have their own specific plan to put into effect.

Steve Millsaps, Joliet West Athletic Director and Cory Brown, athletic trainer, are working together to develop this plan. The plan is slowly coming together but as of now there are only a few details. According to the West policy, when a concussions occurs the parents and coaches are notified right away. Also, the athletic trainer has to notify the AD, Nurse and Counselors that a student has been concussed. After everyone has been notified they can make the proper adjustments to the following school day. If the student decides to return to school the following day and has symptoms they may be given rest breaks throughout the day or be sent home, tests may be postponed until later or given less computerized work. If the trainer decides the athlete has sustained a concussion the athlete has to remain out of ALL physical activity until the athlete is 100% symptom free for 24 hours. Which at that point they may begin the “return to play protocol”. This involves a step process over 4 days in which there is still no symptoms. The athlete will also retake the computerized ImPACT concussion test during that time. If the ImPACT results are good and they have completed the return to play protocol, the athlete may be cleared. An athlete can either be cleared by a doctor or the athletic trainer. But if any complications and or symptoms occur during the healing process they must be referred to a neurologist or other physician who specializes in treatment of concussions.

This policy and law is taken seriously due to the fact that concussions do happen more often than not. Athletes also continue to participate in sports and physical activity when they don’t realize they have a concussion.