Conaway Bill to Protect Children Against Sports-Related Eye Injuries Now Law

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D. (D-Burlington) that would require the state department of education to provide information to parents to help prevent sports-related eye injuries among children was signed into law on Monday.

The new law (A-1825) requires the Commissioner of Education to develop an educational fact sheet within 120 days of the effective date that provides information about sports-related eye injuries.

“When we think of sports-related injuries, we often think of head or knee injuries, but rarely worry about the potential risk to our eyes. However, according to the National Eye Institute, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children, and most of the eye injuries among kids aged 11 to 14 occur while playing sports,” said Conaway. “This law would provide parents with important information including the types of sports-related eye injuries and the best protective eyewear to use that can help them protect their children from potentially dangerous injuries that could be irreversible.”

Under the new law, the fact sheet is to include, but not be limited to:

  • a list of the most common sports-related eye injuries and the recognition of the symptoms of those injuries;
  • a recommendation that children seek treatment and advice from a licensed health care professional regarding the appropriate amount of time to delay the return to sports competition or practice after sustaining an eye injury;
  • a recommendation that all children participating in school sports or recreational sports wear protective eyewear;
  • information concerning the purchase of appropriate protective eyewear; and
  • any other information the commissioner deems appropriate.

Lastly, the law will require that each school district and nonpublic school distribute the fact sheet annually to the parents or guardians of the students.