Instead of requiring approval from a qualified medical profession like the athletic trainers found on the sideline, lawmakers in the state of North Carolina are looking to pass a bill that would allow parents to choose when their concussed child would be able to return to the field.
As a part of House Bill 116 (which you can read in it’s entirety here), lawmakers are looking to replace the current law that requires immediate removal of any student athlete who exhibits concussion-like symptoms. Here’s an excerpt from the actual Bill naming parents among those authorized to return the child in question to play.
Currently, North Carolina’s law (like many other states) states that any student displaying concussion symptoms must be immediately removed from competition.
The proposed Bill also calls for a database that would compile all catastrophic injuries, including concussions, which actually seems like a really good, logical idea.
You have to imagine that if this bill manages to pass somehow as it’s written, the relationships that schools have with athletic trainers will quickly deteriorate to the point that many trainers will refuse to be on the sidelines, because who wants to diagnose a kid with a concussion only to have a parent override their professional medical opinion. That is not a good situation for anyone involved.
Not having trainers on the sideline is a nightmare scenario for kids and coaches in sports today, so I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping this is one bill that I hope gets no further traction and support.
For coaches, it’s also an incredibly tough situation. Go against an influential parent’s decision to let their kid return to practice or a game and continue to sit him in the name of safety, and chances are good you get called into your athletic director’s office at some point. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of that child, and overzealous parents can sometimes lose sight of that.