Youth Football & Concussions :: Georgia Return to Pay Act of 2013

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Does your son play Football? Have you ever had concerns about injuries? I think that is the MAIN reason why I didn’t want my son to play the sport. I actually don’t understand the rules of football, but I know what a sack/tackle is! It doesn’t look fun. My own son told me he didn’t want to play for the same reason, but my husband really wanted him to give it a try. For men it’s like a right of passage into manhood, “My boy plays football!” Well, this season my son has taken the leap to play the sport – Flag Football. You read right, flag football. My son doesn’t want to get tackled and this was the best alternative.

If you have been paying attention to the news, I am sure you have seen more and more youth getting hurt because of sports related injuries. I feel good that the state Georgia has paid attention to what is going on with sports and created “Georgia Return to Play Act of 2013.” I believe it’s a step in the right direction.


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The  Georgia Legislature has approved House Bill 48, also known as   “Georgia Return to Play Act of 2013.” Effective Jan. 1, 2014, organizations  that offer youth athletic programs in Cobb County Parks will be required to educate youth athletes and their parents to understand the dangers of concussions in sports competitions and to be able to recognize when an athlete may have sustained a concussion. To better define the requirements of this law, each organization must make preparations to be in compliance with this bill. Organizations must do the following:

  • Concussion educational information must be provided to all coaches and officials.
  • Concussion educational information must be provided to all the athletes and their parents. The parent/legal guardian must sign an acknowledgement of receipt  and the organization must keep this on file throughout the season.
  • Steps 1 & 2 must be completed prior to the athlete beginning any athletic activity in the program.
  • It is strongly encouraged that all coaches and officials of a youth activity complete an annual concussion recognition education course.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is referring everyone to the “Heads  Up – Concussion in Youth Sports” program offered by the CDC. On this site, the following information is being provided to comply with the bill:

  • Parent/athlete information sheets in English and Spanish
  • Program posters to have at your facilities
  • On-line training program for coaches/officials
  • Coach’s clipboard sheets

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that as many as 3.9 million sports-related and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year. A link to the program on the CDC website can be found here: CDC – Concussion Program.

Do you let your son play football? Are there any concerns?



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  • Courtney A.
    September 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Bernetta. My family recently relocated from Cobb to Clayton County. In an effort to make some friends and be active, my husband and I signed up our 3-year-old for flag football. It’s not his sport of choice, and I believe this will be his first and last season. Anyway, our first AND second concerns were his safety. This law is a great idea, but I’m not sure how much help it will be in some environments. Let’s hope it’s implemented effectively throughout the state.

    • Bernetta
      September 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      I agree with you. I think it will help some but coaches need to do a good job at implementing this.
      I also tried to comment on your blog from my ipad but wasnt able too. I will try again from a desktop!

  • Sue
    September 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    I think flag football is a great alternative, especially for younger kids. FYI Virginia Tech is doing ground breaking research on the best football helmets to avoid concussions. Here is a link http://www.vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2013/05/052813-engineering-newfivestarhelmet.html.

  • Suzanne Willett
    September 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    So glad to see that this is being addressed! People are often amazed that we allow my stepdaughter to ride dirt bike because it’s ‘sooo dangerous’, but then think nothing of the major dangers of football.

  • Sherelle
    September 3, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    I’m glad to hear that the state of Georgia is taking an initiative to do something about this. I’ve seen several news reports showing young men suffering from complications from concussions. I recently read that the NFL reached a settlement from a lawsuit over concussion related injuries from retired players. I’m so glad to have connected with you at the BLM event this weekend!

  • Mylah Stanton
    September 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I’m so nervous about my son playing football. Luckily, he’s only 2 1/2 so he has some time before he can play. My husband wants him to play, but I really don’t like the idea of me allowing him to participate in a sport where so many injuries can occur. It’s my understanding that even soccer moving up the charts as being a dangerous sport. Heaven knows I want to wrap my little one in bubble wrap before sending him out on any sports field/court, but since I can’t do that, I’m going to encourage basketball and baseball. 🙂 This post is compelling me to see if CA has adopted such laws. Thanks Bernetta!

  • Katherine G
    September 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I think this is a great law. It protects the children and helps them and their parents understand what they are getting into.

  • [email protected]
    September 9, 2013 at 2:47 am

    I’m not sure if our son will ever play “tackle” football. Soccer seems a lot safer.

  • Chrishelle @ Cheer MamaDrama
    September 12, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    This articles reaffirms my blessings of having a son who is musician and not a football player. Even though I do not have football players, I do have competition cheerleaders. My oldest experienced her first, and thankfully only, concussion about two years ago. As a nurse I am very concerned with about any closed head injuries, and I hope football parents educate themselves on the severity of concussions.