Last week, the New Jersey Senate Education Committee unanimously passed two bills (S-3053 and SR-74), which would boost New Jersey’s efforts to protect high school athletes from head injuries.

S-3053, sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex/Union), would require cheerleaders, and their coaches, to be included in the “student-athlete” head injury safety program, which is now required by law as of last year. This law made New Jersey the state with the most comprehensive concussion prevention and treatment program in the country.

SR-74, sponsored by Senator Codey (D-Essex), would urge school districts to implement a baseline cognitive testing program, which is designed to assist in measuring the post-injury condition of a student athlete who has sustained a concussion. The process includes performing a test on student-athletes at the beginning of a season that covers attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving and reaction time. The information is used to evaluate the severity of a head injury and whether or not an injured student is recuperating.
 
Both measures now head to the full Senate for a vote.