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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