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While Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican leaders disagree on a budget, they came together Wednesday to celebrate the signing of a bill requiring coaches, parents and young athletes to learn more about concussions. With Dayton was Kayla Meyer of New Prague, one of several young athletes who testified at legislative hearings in favor of the bill. Bill sponsors Rep. Rod Hamilton of Mountain Lake and Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake, on the right and left, also attended the event in Dayton's office. Pioneer Pho...

Law requires more concussion information

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ST. PAUL -- Kayla Meyer stood next to Gov. Mark Dayton, beaming, during a Wednesday ceremony celebrating a new law requiring coaches, parents and young athletes get more information about concussions.

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The New Prague, Minn., youth was one of several young athletes who suffered concussions to tell legislators this year that concussions need to be taken more seriously. Now, Meyer said, other young athletes need to learn how serious the brain injury can be.

"They need to realize their health is more important than the game," Meyer said.

Dayton held a mock bill signing ceremony Wednesday, with supporters of the measure flanking him.

The new law requires officials of organizations that sponsor youth sports events, parents, coaches and young athletes to learn about concussions. It also forbids officials from allowing youths to continue play or practice if a concussion is suspected.

Concussions have been a prime discussion topic at all levels of sports in recent months as the brain injury gets more publicity.

Next to Meyer was Rep. Rob Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, who pushed the bill through the Minnesota House.

"I thought it was a great policy to bring forward," said Hamilton, who enlisted his daughter's boyfriend to testify to a committee about his own concussions.

As the brief ceremony ended, Dayton and Hamilton praised Meyer for her poise in front of a dozen reporters and photographers.

"They didn't include this part on the fourth-grade field trip to the Capitol," she quipped.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.

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