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.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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