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The Indiana State Legislature passed SB222, the first bill of its kind in the country, which requires football coaches and assistant coaches who are coaching athletes under 20 years of age to complete a course in player safety and concussions at least once every two years. The bill also mandates high school student athletes that are removed from play due to suspected concussions or head injuries to not return to play until at least 24 hours have passed.
Providing input on the bill were members of the NFL Physicians Society and the Indianapolis Colts medical team, Drs. Hank Feuer and Terry Horner provided input for this bill. Through a concussion advisory committee, they helped approve the content of the coaches certifying course encompassing concussion awareness, heat acclimatization, equipment fit and coaching techniques.
Also over the past three years, with the help of a local pediatric sports medicine physician, Dr. Feuer and Dr. Horner have certified 176 Indiana physicians in the administration and interpretation of ImPACT, which provides trained clinicians with neurocognitive assessment tools and services that have been medically accepted as state-of-the-art best practices – as part of determining safe return to play decisions. The doctors conduct the sessions bi-monthly.
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.
In a state where football is practically a way of life, one Texas legislator has drafted a proposal that would supplement insurance already offered by school districts. This is just another step that reinforces what many feel is part of the changing landscape in youth sports—in this case, how to arm parents with the resources to offset the costs of properly diagnosing and treating head trauma.
The pilot program as proposed by Brownsville Democratic Rep. Eddie Lucio III focuses on “supplemental concussion insurance for boys who play football and girls who play soccer.”
Texas school districts currently offer insurance to students participating in sports. However, Lucio’s proposal “gives parents the option of buying extra insurance for ‘around $5.’” And would guard against “concussion-related symptoms (that) sometimes don’t appear until after students graduate and lose their district insurance.”
The house version of this bill passed on May 7th.
If approved by the Senate, the University Interscholastic League and the Texas Education Agency would administer the policies which would be underwritten by private companies. Both the UIL and the TEA would also select the districts to benefit from this pilot, which Lucio hopes is “a cross-section from around the state.”