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Tennessee's New Concussion Law a Game Changer for Youth Sports

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On the back of Battle Ground Academy football player's helmets there are stickers warning that no helmets can prevent head injuries.

Junior wide receiver Clay Dennis found that out the hard way after taking a nasty hit last Friday's game.

"I think I was knocked unconscious," he said. "This dude picked me up and threw me down and when he did the only thing that hit the ground was my head."

Dennis sustained a concussion and hasn't been the same since.

"I had headaches for a very long time, sensitivity to the long and I can't sleep at night," he said.
It's those kind of injuries Tennessee's new concussion law is trying to prevent.

"Anytime kids get a ding or have a big collision we make sure they are alright," said Battle Ground Academy head coach Roc Batten. "We make sure our doctors check them and as coaches we make sure they're alright."

Implemented this year, this law is designed to help coaches identify a concussed player and prevent any further damage. This new approach to handling concussions has changed the way some coaches view the game and even the way some teaching their players to tackle.

"They're now targeting the thigh," said Dr. Pet Sells, an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at Belmont University. "They're still trying to get a shoulder, they've added a wrap of arms of arms to secure the tackle and the head is going behind to get it out of the contact."

According to Tennessee's new state concussion law, any athlete that sustains a concussion must now be cleared by a doctor, not a coach, before they can return to action.

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