Now that all 50 U.S. states have youth-concussion laws, a number are going back and looking for ways to improve upon them.
In Virginia, for instance, a House bill introduced in mid-January aims to require each local school division to “establish a management plan for implementation and compliance” with pre-existing policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes. Though it may sound like a small change, formalizing the process in which potentially concussed student-athletes are handled could lead to fewer issues across all sports teams in the state.
Just last year, Virginia expanded its youth-concussion law to cover non-interscholastic youth sports programs that use public school property, too. Those programs must now establish policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes that either follow the local school division’s rules or are consistent with such policies. Last year’s changes also required the state board of education to alter its guidelines to each local school division regarding concussion-related information policies, forcing the board to include information about how concussions can affect the academic performance of student-athletes. (The American Association of Pediatrics issued a clinical report about that very topic in October 2013.)
In Illinois, meanwhile, a Senate bill filed in mid-January would require all school districts and charter schools to appoint a concussion oversight team, which would be required to establish a return-to-play protocol, based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence. The bill would require each concussion oversight team to include at least one physician and at least one or more of an athletic trainer, an advanced practice nurse, a neuropsychologist, or a physician assistant.
"(Concussions) are major concerns that I know families have and school districts have and coaches have,” the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Dan Kotowski, told
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.