On Thursday, June 16th, Governor Bev Purdue signed into law a bill to protect North Carolina middle and high school student-athletes against concussions. This piece of legislation, known as the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act, is designed to raise awareness of the significance of concussion injuries, as well as emphasize the importance of safety in sports.

Matthew Gfeller died in August 2008 after sustaining a head injury during a high school football game in Winston-Salem. He played for R.J. Reynolds High School.  Jaquan Waller, a football player at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, died in September 2008, after sustaining a head injury during a game. Waller suffered from Second Impact Syndrome, a condition that occurs when a person sustains multiple concussions in a short period of time.

The key points of this bill include:

1. Mandatory concussion education is required for all parents, coaches, administrators,  and athletes to read & sign annually.

 2. If an athlete displays any signs or symptoms of concussion during competition or practice, they are immediately removed from play and not allowed to return-to-play that day.  Prior to returning to sport, they must be evaluated and cleared by a medical provider with training in concussion management.

3. A venue-specific Emergency Action Plan is required for each facility hosting athletic events. 

 The act currently applies to all public middle and high schools, and will begin 2011-2012 school year.

 CFPSM would like to thank our providers, staff, patients and their families who helped by contacting their local representatives in the House and Senate to support this act. The multiple letters, emails, and phone calls for this act were heard, appreciated, and made a difference in the lives of the student-athletes across North Carolina.

 CFPSM’s Carolina Sports Concussion Clinic was established in August 2008. Our mission is to educate the community on concussion prevention, recognition, and proper management. To date, our providers have evaluated and managed over 500 concussions.  Dr. Josh Bloom is also a member of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Athletic Safety Task Force Committee.

 For more information on the Carolina Sports Concussion Clinic, please visit: http://www.carolinasportsconcussionclinic.com/

 To read the full article regarding passing the Gfeller-Waller Concussion Awareness Act, please visit: http://www.highschoolot.com/content/story/9734410/