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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.
Indiana Senator Travis Holdman has authored a bill that would require high school football coaches to take player safety and concussion training courses every two years, making it the first such state to make such a requirement, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal.
The bill would also parallel a law in Washington state, which requires football players to wait 24 hours before returning to play after a concussion, making it the eighth state to introduce that requirement..
Current Indiana High School Athletic Association protocol already requires that if an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, the athlete must see a physician,
“We’ve had that protocol for over two years – before concussion language was written,” IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox told the Business Journal, “I think the protocols, as long as they’re executed, they’re appropriate.”
Holdman, meanwhile, said he hopes to expand to the bill to include soccer programs in the future.