JACKSON, Miss. – If you are a young athlete and show signs of a concussion you will not be able to jump back into the game or a practice until you have been cleared by a doctor. The “Return to Play Bill” was signed into law Thursday by Governor Phil Bryant. The law also aims to educate parents, coaches, and athletes about identifying concussions.
“We often think of this as being only football, but girls playing soccer, or softball, men, women, children, boys, and girls have the same potential of having a brain injury occur,” said Bryant.
A big supporter of the bill, Wesley Ward was a former linebacker at Central Hinds Academy in Raymond. When he was 16, a blood vessel burst in his brain after hitting another player.
“I went into a comma that lasted 18 days, to me it was as if I was in a comma for 5 months, because I don’t remember 5 months of my life. At the age of 16 I had to learn how to walk, talk, look around. Let’s just say I distinctly remember having to learn how to breathe again. If the ambulance would have gotten there within 5 minutes later I would have been dead,” said Wesley.
Also at the signing was Mississippi grown, former NFL wide receiver, Willie Richardson. He said he is glad young athletes will be getting the proper treatment.
“I remember I got hit in the all-star game against the Packers. They just held three fingers up, man. If you could count to three, they would let you back in,” said Richardson. “Immediately, it might not affect you, but as you get older it can affect you a lot.”
Mississippi is the last state to have a youth concussion law like this.