Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law this week a bill that will, we believe, prove beneficial in protecting young athletes from the dangers associated with concussions.
The measure, which happily enjoyed significant bi-partisan support in its journey through the legislature, directs the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop and put into place a wide variety of educational materials and initiatives, all designed to reduce the impact of concussions.
With a great deal of evidence already in the record that concussions - especially those suffered at a young age - can cause major cognitive problems and depression, among other things, it's the right thing to do.
The materials and initiatives the Department of Community Health will develop will go out to school districts including athletic directors and coaches and parents. At a minimum, coaches will be required to immediately remove from play any participant suspected to have suffered a concussion and allow them to return only after being examined by a qualified health professional.
We are pleased to report that representatives of the medical care and health fields who testified before the House and Senate committees that considered the bill were all but unanimous in their support. Going forward, that will be important.
There isn't a way we know of to make certain competitive sports and other activities, including cheerleading, 100 percent safe, 100 percent of the time. There will always be a degree of inherent risk involved in the activity. That reality, however, shouldn't stop us from trying to find ways to make the risk more managable.
We believe this new law is a positive step in that direction.