State Concussion Legislation – Where We Stand

(Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Matthew D. Pace and Colin Seals of the Arent Fox Sports Group. It appears in the September issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter, which can be accessed here — )

Over the last two years, 31 states have adopted youth concussion laws. The quick pace of these laws’ passage is testament to the increased public awareness of the disastrous effects that concussions can have, especially on brains that are still developing. Of the states with the most high school football participation, only Ohio, Florida, and Georgia have not yet passed such a law. Of the 31 states with a youth concussion law, only five adopted the law prior to 2011, and only one state – Washington – adopted such a law prior to 2010.

Due in part to the efforts of the National Football League – which has promoted the adoption of such laws – each state’s statute shares superficial similarities with the statutes of other states. Most states’ laws reflect the tenets of the NFL’s “Lysedt Law” model legislation, which asks that the law do three things:

  1. Inform and educate youth athletes, their parents and guardians, and require them to sign a concussion information form;
  2. Immediately remove from play or practice an athlete who appears to have suffered a concussion; and
  3. Require an athlete to be cleared by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions before returning to play or practice.

Clearly, there are many ways to accomplish such a goal, and a brief review of the recently passed laws of the two states with the largest high school football participation – Texas and California – reveals several differences in application of the above principles.

The California law essentially mimics the three tenets of the Lysedt Law, but requires little more. The law provides … (To read the rest of the story, click here — )


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