The results of several new studies have led to new laws in Virginia and the United States regarding how student athletes will be treated in the hours, days, and weeks after receiving a concussion while on the field.

Beginning in July, all Virginia middle schools and high schools must have policies in place that educate students, parents, administrators, and coaches about the dangers of head injuries and what will take place if a student receives a head injury during play. In addition, all students that suffer any kind of head injury must be cleared to return to sports by a doctor.

Another new law has recently been introduced that would establish minimum requirements to concussion response. If states do not meet these federal requirements, they will lose funding.

Both of these laws come after a number of new studies regarding head injuries in young athletes found that it is extremely important for teens who suffer concussion to rest for at least a month after a concussion – and that not taking a break to recover their mind and body after a head injury can lead to much more serious brain injuries and even health problems decades down the road.

Currently, federal health officials say that many schools have outdated and even obsolete concussion policies, while other schools may even encourage players to hide concussions to keep their best players on the field. They believe that many parents, students, and coaches do not know the dangers of playing in the days and weeks after a concussion or the consequences of ignoring symptoms in the wake of a hit to the head.