Concussion bill aims to limit head injuries suffered by student-athletes

CINCINNATI - Concussion safety has become a big priority in the NFL and now Ohio lawmakers want younger athletes' health to be under the same scrutiny.

The Ohio Senate passed a student-athlete concussion bill that could change how young athletes are treated when they suffer head injuries. The bill still needs to be approved by the state house and signed by the governor before it would become law.

If passed, the bill will require athletes to be removed from a game or practice if they show signs of a concussion. It would also require coaches and parents to become more educated on concussion symptoms.

Even before the bill was officially passed, several schools around the area had started investing in safety measures to protect their student-athletes.

"I think there is no doubt that high school programs throughout this region are taking this issue very seriously," Walnut Hills High School Athletic Director Tom Donnelly said.

Donnelly says Walnut Hills has taken several steps toward making all sports as safe as possible.

One of the measures the school has adopted, Donnelly says, is administering a pre-impact test to athletes before the start of their athletic seasons.

"If we suspect a concussion we use that same test which is a baseline, and that allows us to compare the results, and it's a very good objective standard for evaluating a concussion," Donnelly said.

The school also invested more than $28,000 to buy 120 Riddell 360 helmets for its football team. The helmet is the top-rated in the latest study on helmet safety conducted by Virginia Tech University.

Donnelly says the school looked at several options and decided to buy the helmet for every student in the football program. It's an investment the school will be paying for over the next two years.

"It could be any type of blow, it doesn't have to be a real big hit, to where a young man can have a concussion," Walnut Hills offensive line coach Armand Tatum said.

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