Few injuries are more tragic than that of a high school athlete suffering a traumatic brain injury. Literally, they are struck down in their prime, often on the athletic field.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has reported on recent developments among the states dealing with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Seventeen states passed laws in 2009 and 2010 to address TBI.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury
TBI is usually caused by blow to the head or a severe head injury. Most of these injuries are not severe, caused by a slight concussion or bump to the head.
Unfortunately, many are severe, resulting in a permanent disability or death.
Approximately 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury annually with 52,000 dying.
Immediate emergency medical is necessary and trauma care is essential to survival and recovery from TBI.
The NCSL notes that "TBI is estimated to have direct and indirect costs of $60 billion to society annually on top of the emotional burden faced by family and friends of someone who suffers a TBI."
The states have responded in various ways, have laws that target youth sports-related head injuries.
Alaska and Nebraska passed legislation creating surveillance mechanisms to track the incidence and severity of TBI.
The legislatures in Vermont and Washington have enacted bills that address TBI in correctional facilities.
New Hampshire, California, and Virginia laws address TBI in veterans.
North Carolina and Tennessee have specific licensing guidelines for TBI treatment facilities.
In 2011, bills have been introduced in at least 25 states to address traumatic brain injury. Thirty-seven states have introduced legislation targeting youth sports-related concussions.
Connecticut has enacted legislation that requires coaches of student athletes to complete annual training regarding concussions and head injuries.
This new law will also require that coaches remove a student athlete from playing or any other kind of physical exertion if they show signs of having suffered a concussion.
The students will not be permitted to resume participation without written clearance from a licensed medical professional.
The coaches are also required to complete refresher courses, once every five years. And the training and refresher courses must be approved by the State Board of Education.
Level One Trauma Centers
Connecticut has also introduced legislation to include appropriation of funds to level one trauma centers.
Level one trauma centers are the highest level and have experienced trauma surgeons available 24-hours-a-day and sophisticated medical diagnostic equipment.
Patients who suffer traumatic injuries have much higher survival rates when treated in a level one trauma center. In 2011, Hartford Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital were level one trauma centers.
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