Students athletes with suspected concussions now require medical clearance to return

Connecticut has become the third state in the country to set standards for how schools handle athletes with suspected concussions.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed into law the requirement that coaches keep student athletes out of competition until they have received written clearance from a medical professional.

“You can’t let them back into the field of play. Frankly, I have to wonder why we have to legislate common sense, but we do. …It just makes good sense,” Rell said during an interview Wednesday.

The law, effective July 1, also requires all school coaches to undergo training to recognize warning signs of a concussion.

Statewide, 5,000 to 8,000 student athletes suffer from a concussion each year, estimated Paul Hoey, associate director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. There are currently 107,000 high school athletes in the state.

Oregon and Washington adopted similar laws last year, said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven.

“When in doubt, sit it out,” he told the Education Committee in March.