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Is a youth football ban necessary to halt head injuries?

As many people in Ann Arbor have heard, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill into law late last month in the hopes of keeping student athletes safe from head injuries. Schools and other youth athletic organizations will now be required to train athletes, parents and coaches about recognizing and reacting to head injuries. Perhaps most importantly, it will also require coaches to immediately remove from play any athlete who might have a concussion. Athletes who sustain blows to the head will not be able to participate again without consent from a doctor.

Michigan's implementation of the brain-injury prevention measure comes on the heels of several states. Across the country, schools and organizations have been tasked with taking the responsibility of keeping kids safe on the playing field, but in one state a school board member wants his district to go even further. The man, a doctor, wants football banned.

While it may seem like an extreme measure, he has cited research that shows that concussions--especially when sustained as a child or teen--can have long-lasting and detrimental effects later in life.

The district's athletic director thinks the request is a stretch and an overreaction.

Although schools here in Michigan, and other states, are beginning to recognize the effects of head injuries and attempt to prevent them, many people might think that ceasing participation in certain sports is necessary.

Of course, head injuries can happen in a variety of circumstances, including a car accident or even just by slipping and falling on a wet floor. Nonetheless the effects can be life changing in terms of abilities, symptoms and expenses, and it is thus important to prevent and treat head trauma.

What do Michigan residents think? Is injury prevention legislation enough, or should some youth sports programs be discontinued?

Source: WXYZ.com, "New push to ban football from high schools due to head injury danger," Oct. 25, 2012

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