As high school sports get underway, a new law takes effect in Minnesota today regarding concussion injuries involving student athletes.
The law requires coaches or officials to bench players who show symptoms of a concussion. Previous rules only required benching when a player was knocked unconscious. The new law applies to athletes 18 years old and younger in all sports and youth leagues, not just those tied to schools.
For schools under the arm of the Minnesota State High School League, this requirement was in effect last year.
A new mandate this year requires coaches and officials to take an online training course, said Kevin Merkle, assistant director for the league.
"Part of training is to raise their level of concerns about concussions; have a little better understanding of the seriousness of it," Merkle said.
Other training topics include recognizing signs and symptoms of possible concussion.
"We've gotten smarter with concussions; we're finding out that they probably take place more often than we used to think," Merkle said.
Athletes who are removed from games or practices may not return until cleared by a doctor.