Legislators proposing law to protect young athletes from concussions

4:18 PM, Feb 10, 2011   |    comments
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"I went to make a pass across to a teammate of mine, and out of nowhere a girl came through and took [her] elbow to my head," Alexandria Karlis said. "I had a feeling that I definitely had a concussion cause I was kind of in a daze and out of it."

The high school senior told the coaches of the Colorado Select team she was fine, and then she took another hit. That's when she decided to get off the ice.

"They told me that a football player at Grandview in a game got hit, got a concussion and the coach put him back in and he got hit and he died right there on the field," Alexandria said.

A proposed state law is named after that high school football player. Supporters of the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act say it is intended to protect athletes ages 11 to 19 from Second Impact Syndrome.

"When somebody gets a concussion you can almost think of it like a bruise on your brain. If you get a bruise on your thigh, and it get's punched again, it's going to get bigger. The brain's the same way. If they get hit again it can cause more damage and more permanent damage. The brain is really sensitive at that point. You want to make sure it fully recovers before you get hit again," 9Health Reporter Dr. John Torres said.

Senate Bill 40 would require coaches of youth sports to be trained on how to spot concussions. Injured children would not be allowed to get back in the game until they are cleared by a doctor.

"You want to be out there, be part of the team, but you get out there and get hurt again you're just hurting the team even more. So taking time out is the best thing to do," Alexandria said.

Alexandria says her close call showed her the new law would be good for all young athletes. She was treated by doctors with The Children's Hospital Concussion Center team and had to sit out for three weeks to recover from her concussion.

Senate Bill 40 is being sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats. It will be introduced in the Senate Health Committee on Thursday.

Among those who will testify in favor of the legislation is former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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