Connecticut lawmakers are looking to better protect our young athletes, passing a bill to strengthen the education on head injuries - mainly concussions.
"You speak to older athletes and they say, yeah I remember having my bell rung or god I saw stars. They laugh about it, but it’s laughter tarnished with recognition that they might have done some damage to themselves and not even known it," said Dan Woog, soccer coach at Staples High School.
This bill aims to fix that lack of awareness, essentially doing two things: putting more information into the hands of the parents and better training the coaches. Schools will now be required to give parents a consent form detailing a concussion education plan. It will also require all coaches to complete a concussion training course.
"It's not to discourage contact - you need to have contact. That's part of the game," said State Representative Fred Camillo.
Rep. Camillo is one of the many who supported the bill, describing it as a legislation that gets all schools on the same page. Right now, many schools differ on their concussion policies.
"Knowing what we know now about concussions and what can come from them down the road, I think it's a proactive legislation, which not every bill is," he said.
Current research reveals anywhere from one-to-three million concussions occur each year. The discrepancy is largely due to the fact that many go unnoticed or unreported.
"I don't think too many soccer organizations drill on heading - it's just not done," said Coach Woog.
Dan Woog is a soccer coach at Staples High School and he says this past year he saw four players suffer concussions. And, while he admits that is unusual - he does say proper training is what kept the athletes safe.
"The more education there is around concussions, the more aware people are. It doesn't mean you will eliminate all of them, but you will be aware of them and they will be treated correctly," he said.
The bill now sits on Governor Malloy's desk, ready to sign into law. In the meantime, one professional league is already expressing support: the NFL. The league released a statement describing the concussion management its own clubs follow, and praises Connecticut for taking similiar action.