A student athlete gets checked by a physician for a concussion.

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State legislators are broadening protections for teens who may be at risk of suffering a concussion.

High school students who suffer a concussion while playing intramural sports will now be protected by the state’s student athlete head-injury safety program after Gov. Chris Christie signed the new legislation Thursday.

“It’s critical that students are fully recovered before returning to a normal daily regimen,” said Assemblyman John DiMaio, R-Warren, in a statement. “They require more time to recover from a brain injury, and suffer more severe symptoms and neurological disturbances than adults.”

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New Jersey’s student athlete head-injury safety program requires special head injury and concussion diagnosis and treatment training for school physicians, coaches and trainers. It also outlines protocols to follow when a student suffers a serious head injury.

The law states that students participating in sports or cheerleading programs who suffer or are suspected of suffering, a concussion or other head injury during athletic activity must be immediately removed from the sporting event and cannot return until cleared by a physician.

The original training program, passed into law in 2010 and implemented by the state Department of Education, was only required for people who coached and tended to student athletes in interscholastic athletics. The new law will now include training for those involved with recreational sports and athletes.

“Recreational sports are still competitive and can result in head injuries,” said Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver, D-Essex, Passaic, in a statement. “Including intramural sports in the head injury safety training program can ensure that head injuries that might go unnoticed are treated.”

There are an estimated 300,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries, which include concussions, that occur in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research has shown that brain injuries among high school males occur most often in football, while females suffer more head injuries in soccer.

Contact:

609-272-7022 NLeonard@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

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Previously interned and reported for Boston.com, The Asbury Park Press, The Boston Globe

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