Student Well-Being

Youth-Concussion-Law Update: Fla. Makes 38; Two Other Bills Advance

By Bryan Toporek — May 30, 2012 2 min read
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When we last checked in on states’ legislative progress regarding youth-athlete concussions, Gov. Steve Beshear had just signed his state’s youth-concussion law, making Kentucky the 37th state (along with the District of Columbia) to have such a law.

In the past few weeks, bills in three other states took some major steps forward. Here’s a brief recap:

Florida Makes 38: On April 27, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed his state’s youth-concussion law, making Florida the 38th state to have one.

Florida’s law contains all three provisions of the NFL’s model youth-concussion legislation: Parents must sign a concussion-information form before their child can participate in school sports, student-athletes are required to be immediately removed from play if suspected of a concussion, and concussed student-athletes must obtain medical clearance before returning to play.

The law doesn’t, however, require coaches to be trained about concussions on a regular basis. It requires schools to adopt guidelines to educate coaches and officials about youth concussions, but doesn’t specify if or how often coaches must be trained.

Hawaii Bill Presented to Governor: Hawaii may soon join Florida as the latest state with a youth-concussion law, as the state’s bill was transmitted to Gov. Neil Abercrombie back on April 23.

Hawaii’s bill also contains all three provisions of the NFL’s model youth-concussion legislation, but doesn’t stop there. Under the bill, every public and private high school that’s a member of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association would be required to provide annual concussion-awareness training to coaches, administrators, and athletic officials.

Roughly half the states currently with youth-concussion laws require some sort of formal coaches training; only a handful extend that mandatory training past coaches to officials and other school staff.

Michigan Bill Introduced, Advancing: On May 9, a youth-concussion bill was introduced in the Michigan Senate and appears to be advancing relatively quickly.

Like the new Florida youth-concussion law, Michigan’s bill contains all three model provisions, but doesn’t specify how often coaches must complete a concussion-awareness training program.

The state Senate’s Committee on Healthy Policy recommended back on May 22 that a substitute bill should be passed and immediately take effect.

The measure was sent to the Senate Committee of the Whole, which reported favorably on the substitute bill today. It’s been placed on order of third reading, according to the Michigan Legislative Website.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.