Student athletes and their schools will now face stricter rules when returning to play after a suspected concussion. The Concussion Management and Awareness Act will become law Sunday. It is aimed to highlight the importance of proper medical treatment for mild traumatic brain injuries. Our Katie Gibas spoke with an athlete who has suffered a concussion and her doctor about the new law.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Julia Allyn has been playing hockey since she was four. In the last year, she's suffered two concussions. Now more than six months after her last one, she's still feeling the effects.
"The dizziness and I couldn't stand up lasted for like two days. But then, every once and a while, I was still nauseous for like two weeks after. And the headaches stayed until now," said Julia Allyn, a Skaneateles sophomore.
And Allyn isn't alone. Between 2005 and 2008, more than 400,000 high school athletes suffered concussions. That's why July 1st, New York's Concussion Management and Awareness Act will become law. One of the provisions is mandatory training on mild traumatic brain injuries for coaches, nurses and teachers.
"My grades dropped extremely and they [my teachers] didn't really know why. And I'm pretty sure they were all notified that I had a concussion because I had to leave class quite a bit. But they really didn't do anything. I still had regular homework and take tests and everything," said Allyn.
Brian Rieger, PHD, is the director of the Upstate Sports Concussion Program. He says, "There's still a lot of education that needs to be done. I also think that there are situations where people know, have the information but they haven't taken the next step to really implement the kinds of policies, procedures or protocols that they should."
The other crucial element is to protect students from themselves and further injury.
Anyone suspected of a concussion must be immediately removed from play. And they're not allowed to return until they're symptom free for 24 hours and cleared by a doctor.
"We want a culture where your teammates feel responsible to tell the coach or tell somebody if they know you're not right even if you're trying to hide those symptoms," said Rieger.
Allyn added, "I'm scared to even go anywhere near the ice right now because if you get hit for a second time after you've already had one before it's healed, it can have lifelong effects."
As for Allyn, every day she gets a little better. Now, she's starting physical therapy to help her get back into the sports she loves.