Illinois' high school coaches and athletic directors will be required to take an online concussion training course under a plan Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Tuesday.
The law, which took effect immediately, requires the Illinois High School Association to develop a program that schools' athletic staff members have to complete every two years. IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman said the free program, which is available to coaches and athletic directors now, would take at least a few hours to complete. Student athletes will also get concussion awareness education.
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The legislation was prompted by concerns about a rise in head injuries, state officials said.
"We need to make sure we adopt proper safeguards," Quinn said after signing the legislation at a school on Chicago's South Side.
Concussions in children and teens have increased in recent years, studies indicate, along with awareness about the dangers of such head injuries. Much of the focus with concussions has been on football, and Hickman said such training was a step in making the sport safer.
"It is time for a new era in football," he told reporters. "We can ... have football be the glorious game that it is, but we need to change a few things."
In 2013, Quinn signed a law requiring high school districts to purchase catastrophic injury insurance coverage for student athletes.