Concussions in Youth Athletes - Florida
Governor Scott signed HB 291 into law on October 12, 2012. The new law can be found at Florida Statutes Annotated (F.S.A.), Title XLVIII, Section 1006.20(2)(j), (k), (l), and (m). under the K-20 Florida Education Code . Section 1006.20 is titled Athletics in public K-12 Schools.
The law requires The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) to adopt guidelines to educate coaches, officials, administrators and student athletes and their parents about the nature and risk of concussion and head injury, to adopt policies requiring a candidate for an interscholastic athletic team to sign and return an informed consent annually prior to participation, to develop guidelines providing for the immediate removal of student suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury, and prohibiting return to practice or competition until a written medical clearance has been received from an appropriate health care provider. Although Section 1006.20 was amended in April 2013, there were no substantive changes to the statute.
There is another Florida law, which is actually found under chapters outlining Criminal Procedures and Corrections at F.S.A., which was also amended in 2012 relating to concussions. Title XLVII, Section 943.0438 titled Athletic Coaches for Independent Sanctioning Authorities, which in part requires background screening of each current and prospective coach of an independent sanctioning authority. The statue defines an Independent Sanctioning Authority as a private, nongovernmental entity that organizes, operates, or co-ordinates a youth athletic team in the state if the team includes one or more minors and is not affiliated with a private school. An independent Sanctioning Authority shall develop guidelines to educate athletic coaches, officials, administrators and youth athletes and their parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussion and head injury, adopt policies requiring the parent or guardian to sign an informed consent annually prior to any participation by the youth athlete and requiring immediate removal of a youth athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury from any activity and prohibit a return to play or practice until a medical clearance is received from an appropriate health care practitioner.
The official versions of the Florida Statutes are available online at:
On October 3, 2013, HB 139 was introduced and referred to committee. As proposed HB 139 would expand the statute to “volunteers,” which would be defined under the statute as a person authorized by a youth recreation authority to work whether for compensation or as a volunteer, for a youth athletic team or organized youth recreational program using publicly owned facilities and having direct contact with one or more minors on the youth athletic teams. SB 358, a very similar bill was introduced on November 5, 2013 and has also been referred to committee.
HB 139 and SB 358 can be viewed online at: