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Colorado Concussions Law Most Far-Reaching in Country

Jake Snakenberg

Governor John Hickenlooper signed a bill into law Tuesday that aims to better train coaches to recognize concussions in middle school and high school athletes.

The measure is named after 14 year old Jake Snakenberg, a football player from Grandview High School who suffered a concussion in 2004 after being hit in a football game. He eventually died.

“I’m so proud that we’re able to honor the memory of young Jake,” says bill sponsor Republican Senator Nancy Spence of Centennial.

Senate bill 40 requires coaches of youth sports, such as club and school teams, to take an annual training on concussions. The bill also requires players with symptoms to be removed from a game, they could only return after an evaluation from a doctor or nurse.

“Our first role is to serve and protect our citizens and I think this bill is exactly what that’s about,” said Governor John Hickenlooper while signing the bill in front of a crowd of school children.”  It’s to make sure that we promote healthy practices in Colorado. That we protect our kids.”

The annual training is free and available online. The bill got widespread support in the legislature but some Republicans worried it was overly burdensome for volunteer coaches. The National Football League is advocating for similar measures across the country in an effort to reduce serious injuries.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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