Tag Archives: legislation

Its Official: Mississippi Passes Youth Concussion Law

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Youth Concussion Act into law yesterday, meaning that every state in the nation now has a youth sports concussion law.

The legislation, according to the NFL, “contains three core principles:

  • Concussion education for young athletes and parents
  • Immediate removal of an athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or brain injury
  • Mandatory clearance of the athlete by an appropriate health care provider – including a licensed physician, a licensed nurse practitioner or licensed physician assistant, who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions – before returning to practice or competition.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said passage of the Act, which applies to school-sponsored/interscholastic sports in Grades 7 through 12, is “an important moment for all young athletes and their parents. During a week when all eyes are on the football field, we congratulate Mississippi leaders on helping to protect young players, no matter what sport they play. We will continue to focus on making our game better and safer and setting the right example for all athletes when it comes to health and safety.”


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NFL, NHL, NBA, US Soccer, NCAA Endorse Concussion Safety Bill

Legislation that would strengthen K-12 schools’ procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating concussions received endorsements recently from six national professional and collegiate sports organizations.

The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act has endorsements from the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) United States Soccer Federation, USA Football and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

“The bill sets, for the first time, minimum state requirements for the prevention and treatment of concussions to ensure students, parents and coaches have the information they need to effectively address head injuries,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who introduced the Act.  “Having so many major national sports organizations – the NFL, NHL, NBA, US Soccer, USA Football and the NCAA – and numerous nationwide health organizations as partners in this effort will help us continue to raise awareness about the long-term effects of concussions and how dangerous they can be if ignored.”

Durbin’s legislation will raise awareness of the danger of concussions among student athletes by directing states to develop concussion safety guidelines for public school districts that include posting educational information on school grounds and school websites about concussion symptoms, risks and recommended responses for student athletes, parents, coaches and school officials.

The bill also institutes a “when in doubt, sit out” policy that requires students suspected of sustaining a concussion to end their participation in the athletic event for the remainder of the day.  Such a policy was recommended by a panel of team physicians convened by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2011.  Additionally, the American Academy of Neurology’s evidenced-based guideline on sports concussion, published in 2013, agrees with the “sit it out” policy and represents the latest literature on sports concussion.  The bill asks schools to notify a student’s parents of an injury and obtain a written release from a health care professional before the student may return to play.

Durbin’s legislation builds on a comprehensive plan implemented by the Illinois High School Athletic Association, which governs interscholastic high school sports in the state.  Illinois law requires school districts to educate students, families, and coaches about the nature and risk of concussions and requires student athletes to abstain from sports until they receive a medical evaluation and a letter of clearance from a licensed healthcare professional saying they can return.  Unfortunately, many states lack such a plan or have implemented policies that do not adequately identify and protect children who sustain a concussion.

All states would have five years from the bill’s enactment to issue guidance to schools about concussion plans.  A state that fails to do so within that timeframe will forfeit 5% of its federal formula funding under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the first year with an additional 5% forfeited the second year of noncompliance.

Additional organizations endorsing Durbin’s Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act include: the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National PTA, the American Academy of Neurology, Easter Seals, The Arc, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the Korey Stringer Institute, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

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Ohio House of Representatives Passes Bill Shielding Referees, Coaches and Other Volunteers

The Ohio House of Representatives has passed House Bill 16, which prevents referees, coaches and other volunteers from being criminally prosecuted for not complying with requirements that help identify youth sports injuries.

Representative Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) sponsored the bill, which clarifies the provisions that were enacted as part of House Bill 143. This piece of legislation was passed into law during December 2012 and it was designed to help coaches and other youth activity officials deal with head injuries at sporting events. The bill, however, inadvertently held these same persons liable if they did not recognize signs of a concussion or other various head trauma.

With the passage of House Bill 16, coaches, officials and other volunteers would not be criminally penalized for failure to act in accordance with the measures outlined in House Bill 143.

“In the past General Assembly, the legislature spent a lot of time on and ultimately passed House Bill 143 dealing with the very important issue of youth concussions in athletic events,” said Rep. Hottinger. “Unfortunately, in the bill’s final enactment, language was included that would create criminal liability for volunteers if they failed to recognize a concussion. It is not the intent of the bill to turn volunteers of youth sporting events into potential criminals.”

Local attorney from the law firm of Reese, Pyle, Drake & Myer, P.L.L. and community volunteer Justin Lodge advised Rep. Hottinger.

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