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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Delaware

Delaware

On September 6, 2016, the Governor signed the Concussion Protection in Youth Activities Act, which becomes effective September 6, 2017. The law is found under the Delaware Statutes dealing with Health and Safety and the Part dealing with Regulatory Provisions Concerning Public Health of the Delaware Code Annotated (16 Del. C. §3001L through 3009L).

The law defines “athlete” as a person who engages in athletic activity who is less than 18 years of age. “Athletic activity” means participation of an athlete in an athletic program or event in the State, which is organized or sponsored by a public, for profit or non-profit organization not regulated by the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association, or is part of a school sponsored field day, recess, gym or physical education class or a college or university sponsored program, which is considered a significant concussion risk activity. Concussion risk activity means football, rugby, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, wrestling, volleyball, martial arts, combative sports, gymnastics, baseball, softball, cheerleading and such other athletic activities as may be identified by the Division of Public Health. An athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion in an athletic activity shall be immediately removed from physical participation in the athletic activity and is not permitted to return to athletic activity on the same day and shall not return to physical participation in an athletic activity until evaluated by a health care provider and receiving written clearance from a health care provider to return to physical participation in the athletic activity. The coach or official responsible for the athlete’s removal shall provide prompt notice to the athlete’s parent or guardian of both the athlete’s removal and the medical clearance requirement. Prior to an athlete’s participation in an athletic activity, the organizing entity shall annually provide a concussion information sheet, published by the State Council for Persons with Disabilities, which shall be signed by the athlete and parent or guardian. Coaches and officials shall complete initial and periodic concussion training. Coaches, athletes, officials, and parents of visiting teams from outside the State are not subject to the information sheet and concussion training requirements. The Delaware law relating to interscholastic athletics can be found at section 303, Title 14, Chapter 3, of the Delaware Code, under the title dealing with Education and the chapter dealing with the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association. (Del. Code Ann. Title. 14, § 303).

The Delaware law requires member schools to follow certain rules and regulations regarding concussions, which include: requiring parents/guardians to sign information sheets about concussions annually; providing coaches with concussion training; removing students from play promptly if suspected of sustaining a concussion or exhibiting signs and symptoms of concussion; and prohibiting return to play until a complete medical assessment by a qualified health care professional or medical clearance is received. Written clearance for a return to play after a concussion must be from a qualified physician. The application of the Act is currently limited to member schools of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (“DIAA”).

The official version of section 303 is currently available online at:

http://delcode.delaware.gov/title14/c003/index.shtml

The official version of sections 3001L through 3009L are currently available online at:

http://delcode.delaware.gov/title16/c030l/index.shtml

The following website offers additional information regarding Delaware concussion law:

http://wcshealthroom.weebly.com/delaware-interscholastic-athletic-association-diaa-concussion-protocol.html