County's concussion training law takes another hit

Sep 2, 2016

The Erie County Legislature is trying again to get it right on concussion training for youth sports coaches.

Legislators have been tinkering with the rules, as they deal with what many see as a real problem: concussions among young, apprentice athletes. There is a feeling coaches and parents often don't know what to look for and send kids back into the game or don't know enough about when to send that player right to the hospital for examination.

The fight this time was an attempt to exempt youth baseball teams and coaches from the rules mandating some training on concussions. It even exposed a split among youth baseball leagues, with 7th District Legislator Patrick Burke saying his league in South Buffalo backs the concussion training.

Coach and team sponsor Legislator Peter Savage of Buffalo's Delaware District, says baseball is not a contact sport.

"Little League T-ball, baseball and softball are contact sports. I think there is a clear distinction between sports like tackle football or hockey, both of which I played through college football player, as a matter of fact, where the mere design of the game and the natural performance of play is forseeable and required and natural that there will be physical contact," Savage says.

Burke says baseball is a contact sport, not a collision sport.

There is an exemption for sports that already have concussion safety rules. The measure again goes to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is a youth hockey coach and stresses concussion training to his players and that hockey leagues require that training for coaches.