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Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 2:29am

Doctors, Athletes Push Concussions Bill

Members of a state House committee want lawmakers to revise a bill aimed at protecting student athletes who suffer concussions.

The goal of Georgia's Return to Play Act is getting injured players off the field fast and making sure they're well enough to get back in the game.

Several hulking NFL players waited their turn Wednesday to tell members of the state House Health and Human Services committee war stories about hard hits on the field.

“I can remember coming off the field in a daze trying to find which sideline was my own,” said Buddy Curry, a former Atlanta Falcons defensive rookie of the year who suffered numerous concussions. “My only thought was ‘give me some smelling salts so I can at least be clear enough to get back on the field.’”

The “Return To Play Act" would require coaches remove players from the field if they might have suffered a concussion. The players wouldn't be allowed back to play unless cleared by a doctor.

“What happens is, your risk gets increased for concussions, the symptoms last longer, and then you have morbidity associated with academic problems and behavior problems,” said Dr. Machoke, a specialist at the Shepherd Spinal Center who often treats young athletes with concussions. “I’ve seen players who’ve had 10, 12, 15 concussions.”

The bill also would have the state Board of Education develop guidelines for coaches, students and parents to report injuries.

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