The issue of sports-related concussions is in the spotlight right now as more than 2,000 former players sue the NFL over the long-term effects of head injuries.
When high school football players head back to practice across Florida this summer, they'll play under new rules designed to protect them from repeat concussions.
A new law takes effect next month that requires coaches to take an athlete out of a game or practice immediately following a head injury. The player won't be able to return to competition until getting clearance from a doctor.
Plus, parents or guardians will have to sign a consent form about the risk of concussions before an athlete can join the team.
Bill sponsor Rep. Ronald Renuart (R-Ponte Vedra Beach) says the law will help prevent repeat concussions, which can have long-term negative effects.
"If somebody has a concussion and they have not healed completely and they have a second concussion, there is some major damage that can occur to the human brain, and the human brain really doesn't finish its full development until somebody is in their late 20s," Renuart said.
Multiple injuries like that can affect young people for the rest of their lives.
"Injuries like that at an early stage can affect somebody's ability to reach their highest potential in academics, their behavior can be affected, their mood and really their social interaction with other people," Renuart said.
The new law also applies to youth sports leagues operated by communities, such as Little League and Pop Warner.
Renuart hopes the law prompts a discussion between coaches and players about how to tackle without trying to injure an opponent.
It's estimated 140,000 high school athletes suffer concussions each year in the U.S.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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