Return to Play Act of 2013 makes football safer for young player - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Return to Play Act of 2013 makes football safer for young players

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

It's game time once again. Young football players across the state of Georgia are getting ready to suit up for this year's season, only this time there may be a few more precautions before players can step on the field.

"We give the parents material to read so they will know what is involved with a concussion, and they sign off on it and we have to have a plan in place and our policy on athletics were already as strong as this law," says Gary Gibson with the Muscogee County School District.

A law that was created to help bring more awareness to concussions. It's all part of Georgia's Return to Play Act of 2013. No need to be worried -  it's a law aimed at protecting young athletes, a practice former NFL player DJ Jones says he wish he could have taken advantage of.

Back when he was a student at Carver High School he says things were a bit different.

"You know, it was a situation where if you get dinged a little bit get a little smelling sauce. When you feel better you go back into the game. But now we found out that after many studies it's to risky to do that," DJ Jones said.

Recent studies show concussions account for nearly 15% of high school sport injuries in Georgia. Here in Muscogee County doctors and new equipment at area hospitals are also being used to evaluate students who may have had serious head injuries in the past.

Jones, who says he has been hit pretty hard in his football career both at UGA and playing for the Greenbay Packers, says luckily today's youth can get a handle on how to deal with concussion before they become problems later in life.

"Now, thank goodness some measures are being taken a lot sooner and we can help these kids a lot earlier," Jones said.

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