Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited Ponte Vedra High School on Friday to sign a bill designed to help reduce youth sports head injuries.
House Bill 291 requires coaches and others to immediately remove players from a game or practice following a head injury and prevents the student-athlete from returning to competition until the player has been cleared by a doctor.
"It is important to remember that as much excitement as we get from our children's sporting events, safety always comes first," Scott said.
The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Ronald Renuart (R-Ponte Vedra) and State Sen. Anitere Flores, passed unanimously through the House and Senate last spring.
“It is our responsibility and practice is played safe and every injury addressed. Nationwide over 300,000 people that have sports injuries a year in our school systems. Individuals are dying from this. [It is] impacting studies, impacting livelihood,” said Scott.
Rep. Renuart, a doctor and the father of a student at Ponte Vedra high, said he was proud to work with the governor to get the bill passed.
"What we've learned is that the human brain doesn't reach its full development until someone is in their late 20s, and a repeat concussion, two concussions close to each other can have detrimental effects, and that student-athlete may never reach their full potential as far as their education. It could even lead to death on the field, which we've seen in a number of cases."
In addition to removing athletes from play, this law also takes preventative measures and requires an informed consent about the risk associated with concussions prior to a student joining an athletic team.
“No student athlete that suffers a head injury should expect to return to the same game,” said Renaurt.