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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A new state law takes effect Jan. 1 that aims to protect Tennessee's student athletes from brain damage.
The concussion legislation forces schools to adopt guidelines to educate kids, their parents, coaches and school staff about the dangers of head injuries in sports like football.
"We see it all the time: Kids go back in a game they shouldn't have gone back into," said Dr. Andrew Gregory with Vanderbilt University Sports Medicine.
Gregory has been vocal about his support of the legislation and said because there's no central governing body for youth sports in Tennessee, there's actually more support for adult athletes than young athletes.
Under the new law, schools cannot allow injured students to continue playing until they've been cleared by a medical professional.
The law also includes provisions that would require students to leave a sporting event if they show concussion symptoms.
Supporters of the new law hope educating young athletes will aid them in making important decisions.
"If you ask athletes why they were concussed after being concussed, one of the reasons is they didn't know it was a concussion, so they didn't know they shouldn't go back in a game," Gregory said.
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