Bill To Include Cheerleading In The Student-Athlete Head Injury Program Now Law

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TRENTON – Legislation requiring the state Department of Education to include cheerleading in the student-athlete head injury safety training program was signed into law Monday.

The law (A-4008) extends the safety training requirement to cheerleading coaches in public school and nonpublic school interscholastic sports programs, and amends the current law which requires the training solely for school physicians, sports coaches and athletic trainers in public school and nonpublic school interscholastic sports programs.

“This law will ensure the safety of students involved in cheerleading, which has become more competitive and pushes the limits of gymnastics and dance,” said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), one of the bill’s sponsors. “These students run the risk of serious injury when they perform, and deserve the same level of protection given to other students involved in school athletics.”

“Cheerleading is competitive and can be as dangerous for students as high-contact sports like football,” said Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), another sponsor of the bill. “Making sure trainers and coaches have the knowledge to recognize symptoms, and when it’s safe for a student to return to the sport will help keep student athletes safe from further injury or even worse.”

The training covers how to recognize symptoms of head and neck injuries, concussions, and injuries related to second-impact syndrome; and the appropriate amount of time to delay the return to competition of a student who suffers a head injury.

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