Four states implemented new concussion laws ion January 1, aimed at protecting young athletes. The latest states to implement new laws or fortify existing laws are Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee and Wisconsin, according to the NFL. Forty-nine states now have youth concussion laws. Mississippi is the only remaining state without one.
Georgia’s new law, called the “Return to Play Act,” mandates that private and public schools educate parents of youth athletes about the dangers and risks of concussions. The legislation also requires schools to establish specific policies for addressing head injuries among students.
In Oregon, the new law, which expands an earlier law that applied to high schools, now requires that all youth sports coaches and officials receive education on recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussions. The law mandates that coaches hold out any athlete who suffers a concussion out of sports until medical clearance is given.
Tennessee’s law applies to all public and private schools, as well as recreational youth leagues for children under 18, and requires coaches, parents, and athletes to undergo training about concussions and sign documents stating they understand the dangers before kids can participate. The law requires coaches to remove athletes who show signs of concussion.
Wisconsin enhanced an existing law by requiring that schools distribute concussion-related educational information to students each year.