Most high school football teams will kick off their seasons tonight and coaches and parents are being reminded of a new state law about concussions. The legislation went into effect in July.

Alan Beste, with the Iowa High School Athletic Association, says it requires parents to sign a fact sheet stating they understand the signs and symptoms of concussions. The law also requires players to be immediately removed from practice or a game if they’re experiencing any of those symptons.

Lastly, Beste says athletes suspected of getting a concussion cannot return to action until cleared by a medical professional. The law not only covers sports like football, but also extra-curricular activities like dance and cheerleading for 7th through 12th grades.

Beste says his organization has been issuing warnings about concussions for several years. “I think this legislation is going to make kids safer because it’s certainly going to heighten the awareness of people…that if somebody does receive a concussion, it’s not something we should just blow off, we really should take it seriously,” Beste said.

He notes the new law was not the result of an increase in concussions. “The legislation is really a result of the fact that, as more research has been done, we found out concussions are maybe more serious than what we used to think,” Beste said. “When somebody gets their bell rung or gets dinged, as we used to call it…even those carry some serious consequences.”

A couple of former standouts at Iowa State University backed the legislation during a press conference at the statehouse back in February. Matt Blair, who played for the Minnesota Vikings for a dozen years, and former Cyclone quarterback Sage Rosenfels talked about their experiences with the injury.