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The Michigan House has overwhelmingly approved landmark legislation to raise awareness and reduce the amount of head-related injuries in youth sports, state Rep. Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, announced this week.

House Bill 5697 requires coaches to immediately remove an athlete from play if a concussion is suspected, and the player can only return after written authorization from an appropriate health professional.

“As more research is done on the potential long-term effects of sports-related head injuries, we must do all we can to make sure young people stay safe,” Ouimet, who played football in high school and college, said in a press release.

“Students are growing both physically and mentally, and no sport or game is worth a possible life-long disability,” he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that sports-related head injuries, including concussions, have increased 60 percent in the last 10 years.

HB 5697 and Senate Bill 1222 require the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop materials and training for Michigan athletes, parents and coaches regarding concussion-related injuries and treatments.

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