Three Connecticut politicians — State Representatives Livvy Floren (R-149), Stephen Walko (R-150), and Fred Camillo (R-151) — have lauded a bill that would provide greater safety to youths in that state by requiring youth athletes suspected of suffering from a concussion to get written clearance from a medical provider before returning to play.
The bill, An Act Concerning Youth Athletics and Concussions (HB 5113), aims to reduce the number of concussions in children by tasking the State Department of Education (SDE) to develop or approve a concussion education plan. The bill also requires sports leagues to provide parents or guardians with information on concussions so they can be aware of the symptoms if their child is suspected of sustaining a concussion. All student athletes and parents will be required to review and complete this plan annually before the student is allowed to participate in any sport activities.
State Rep. Fred Camillo was a driving force in crafting and advocating for the bill.
“I was fortunate and honored to work on this legislation that seeks to balance the pursuit of athletic excellence with safety and health. The bill calls on both parents and coaches to take an active role in concussion prevention and detection through consent form submission and training courses. This bi-partisan effort is one we can all be proud of, and thankful for,” said Rep. Camillo (R-151).
Part of the bill requires the State Department of Education to develop or approve an informed consent form to distribute to parents that will include at least a summary of the concussion education plan and a summary of the local or regional board of education’s concussion policies. To that extent, when student athletes are removed from athletic participation for exhibiting concussion symptoms, the coaches, or other qualified school employees, will be required to notify parents of the incidence within 24 hours of the child being removed. Coaches will not be allowed to permit the student to resume athletic activities until at least 24 hours have elapsed and the child has received written clearance from a doctor to resume sports. Finally, the bill requires school districts to provide annual reporting of concussion related information to the State Department of Education.
“I am totally supportive of measures that protect children. Concussions are a serious injury and I believe this bill provides the safeguards to ensure that our children stay safe,’ said Rep. Floren (R-149).
Rep. Walko adamantly supported the bill out of the education committee. “I was happy to support this bill out of the education committee. There have already been a number of tragedies from concussions that have affected our student athletes and I believe that this bill will prevent those instances and keep our student athletes safe and healthy,” said Rep. Walko (R-150).
The bill passed the house unanimously with a vote tally of 145-0. It has now been passed up to the Senate.