In just five years, 49 states have passed laws to raise awareness about concussions and ensure proper treatment of head injuries in young athletes.
The rapid spread of “return-to-play” laws came after the revelation of long-term brain damage in several former National Football League players and alarm at the local level that young athletes needed more protection and clear standards of care in dealing with concussions.
As the new laws settle into place, experts believe they are just a first step and that more should be done to prevent serious brain injuries among young athletes, especially among football players. Almost half of the concussions in high school sports occur in football. But determining exactly what can and needs to be done is difficult in the shifting landscapes of sports and medical research.