LANSING (WWJ) – Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation that is aimed at reducing the number of head injuries among young Michigan athletes.

The new law would require coaches to immediately remove athletes suspected of having concussions from play, and only let them return to the game after getting a health professional’s written approval.

John Harrington, who coaches the Farmington Hills Harrison Hawks, believes this was a change that needed to be made.

“In years past we used the term, ‘Hey, he got his bell rung but he’ll be fine; we can put him back in in the second half or whatever,'” said Harrington, who has been coaching for 42 years.

“I coached in here even when we didn’t have doctors on the sidelines and sometimes we had to make that decision. Now, obviously, if a kid was still groggy or something we wouldn’t,” Harrington said.But I will admit that a lot of coaches put kids back in the game, back in the 60s, that probably had concussions.”

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick said the new law requires that everyone involved get up to speed on concussions to avoid series injuries to kids.

Gov. Rick Snyder called it good legislation.

“This is really about a process of giving good information to people about how they can be trained  — in terms of coaches, people in athletics — about what are the issues associated with concussions,” Snyder said. “This is getting information to parents and the kids themselves about it, and then coming up with a process where, if someone does get injured, we get ’em off the field, and they’re off the field until there’s a chance to really get the medical attention they need and they’re cleared to come back in.”

Lions team President Tom Lewand endorses the plan.

“This is a culture change. The NFL is in a position to take a leadership role in driving a change in culture,” Lewand told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s not about toughing it out. Whether it’s in the National Football League, in high school football or in soccer — when in doubt, come out of the game.”


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