Toward the end of January, the Brace Shop shared an article about Wyoming legislation and one state senator in particular that aimed to clamp down on head injuries incurred by underage athletes. Senator Bill Landen was facing a rather ho-hum reaction from his colleagues but continued to believe that a congressional mandate for coaches to undergo specific training was another necessary step in the right direction. Arguably, the school districts had already taken it upon themselves to monitor this responsibility, but Landen wanted to go further. He’s not alone.
Down in Kansas, the issue isn’t all that different. Wichita Public Schools already have a requirement for coaches to receive additional training and for students who receive a concussion to gain written consent from their doctor before returning to whatever sport they play. But on Wednesday, Kansas senators passed a bill that would make such regulations and standards state-wide. The bill must now get approved in the House and receive the governor’s signature before it would become an official state law, but support has mobilized in favor of its passing. One story in particular was fairly motivating.
Nathan Stiles was a high school senior in northeast Kansas in 2010 who died after getting back on the field within a month of his concussion. Had a law like this been in place, Stiles would not have been permitted to re-enter so quickly and he might be a rookie star in college. The tragedy, of course, is that death can often be a tricky cause for initiating policies that affect the greater public. But whether or not the law passes in Kansas, it’s clear that states in the midwest are taking the head injury problem seriously. Others may soon follow.