RICHMOND (WRIC)—Thousands of kids play in area athletic leagues, but there are no uniform guidelines for protecting a child who suffers a concussion during a game.
If a child gets a concussion while playing on a public school team, the coach has to pull the player from the game and he or she can't come back until cleared by a doctor.
But for recreational leagues, there are no guidelines. So, if a child suffers a brain injury while playing, there's no set way to deal with it.
"There's no reason kids should be more safe playing for school then they are playing for rec league," said parent Wendy Etz.
The General Assembly is trying to change that. A new bill could require coaches to get training on concussions.
"I think it's important for coaches to know, because they're often the first line of defensive if you will," said Anne McDonnell of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia.
McDonnell lobbied law makers in 2010 to change the rules for public schools, and she thinks it's about time the same happens for rec leagues.
If the law passes, coaches will be trained to identify when a hard fall is something more serious—like a concussion.
"Well, obviously no one wants the children to be injured, and I think this would help people detect the injuries quicker and maybe prevent a long-term injury or disability," said Robert Hodges of the Chesterfield Basketball League.
This means parents might have to pay more, but most of them say they wouldn't mind.
"I played high school and college sports, so to make sure that they are safe, that's going to be priority number one for me absolutely. Money wouldn't be a problem," said parent James Hargrove.
Lawmakers are still working on the bill. If both chambers agree, they'll vote before session ends.
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