Pennsylvania Law Includes Physical Therapists as Part of Concussion Management Team

In an attempt to reduce the risk of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) among student athletes, new legislation has been introduced in more than 35 states and enacted in 24 over the past year. The latest new piece of legislation is SB 200, a Pennsylvania law that was publicly signed November 14 at the Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania by Gov Tom Corbett.

SB 200 is the first law of its kind to include physical therapists as part of the health care team that can determine whether a student athlete should be removed from play after sustaining a head injury and whether or not a student athlete is ready to return to play after suffering a concussion or other TBI.

In accordance with SB 200, student athletes must be immediately removed from participation in any physical activity when a concussion is suspected. SB 200 also requires that student athletes, after sustaining a concussion or TBI, must be evaluated and cleared for participation in writing by an appropriate health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and other brain injuries. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapists are adequately trained to make these decisions.

The APTA supports this new piece of legislation that they believe will help “protect Pennsylvania student athletes,” said APTA Pennsylvania Chapter President Ivan Mulligan, PT, DSC, SCS, ATC.

“We encourage other states to follow Pennsylvania’s example and put similar laws on their books that protect their student and young athletes, while ensuring there is access to a variety of qualified health care providers trained in the examination and management of concussions, including physical therapists,” said Mulligan.

The APTA is currently working to ensure that physical therapists as well as other qualified health care providers are included in similar legislation in other states in order to provide access and collaboration across a wide range of providers in regards to this public safety issue.

More information on concussions and how a physical therapist can help can be found in the Physical Therapist’s Guide to Concussion.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 77,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com. Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@moveforwardpt) and Facebook (facebook.com/moveforwardpt).

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