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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Indiana

Indiana

On March 23, 2016, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed Indiana S.B. 234 into law amending Indiana law, which is now located at sections 20-34-7-1, 20-34-7-1.5 through 20-34-7-1.7 through 20-34-7-5, and 20-34-7-7 of the Indiana Code under the title dealing with education and the chapter on student health and safety. (Ind. Code. §§ 20-34-7-1, et seq.

Newly added 20-34-7-1.6 defines school as a public and an accredited nonpublic school. Also, 20-34-7-1.7 (newly added as well) defines student athlete as any student who attends a school in grades 5 through 12 and participates in any interscholastic sport including cheerleading in which a head coach or assistant coach elects to comply or as part of coaching certification requirements imposed by this chapter. 20-34-7-1.6 and 20-34-7-1.7 are effective July 1, 2016. The Indiana law requires that the Department of Education provide guidelines, information and forms to each school to be distributed to coaches, parents and student athletes regarding concussions, and requires parents/guardians annually sign acknowledgment of receipt of information on concussions before their child may participate in athletic activities. A student athlete suspected of sustaining a head injury must be removed from the activity immediately and may not return to play until written clearance from a health care professional is received. A student athlete removed from play may not return to competition prior the passage of twenty- four (24) hours. The law also defines “organizing entity” as any person that operates a recreational, intramural or extracurricular athletic or sports program for individuals less than twenty (20) years of age and who use a facility, field, park or other property maintained by the state, a political subdivision or agency or instrumentality. Section 20-43-7-6 is related to football, education courses for coaches, and a waiver of liability for coaches completing training so long as they do not commit gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct. 20-34-7-7, another newly added provision, requires head and assistant coaches coaching any interscholastic sport or intramural sport complete a certified coaching concussion education course at least once every 2 years or sooner in the event of notification from the school that new information has been added to the concussion education course. Coaches complying with this requirement and providing good faith coaching service shall not be personally liable except for acts constituting gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

Sections 20-34-7-1, et seq. are currently available online at Title 20, Article 34 Student health and Safety and Chapter 7 Student Athletes):

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2014/ic/titles/020/articles/034/chapters/007/

S.B/ 234 containing the amendments to existing Indiana Law and the newly added provisions can be viewed online at:

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2016/bills/

(click on S.B.234 to open)

The official version of §20-26-14-1 can be viewed online at:

https://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2014/ic/titles/020/articles/026/chapters/014/

The following website offers additional information regarding Indiana concussion law:

http://www.ihsaa.org/dnn/Resources/HealthWell-Being/tabid/1784/Default.aspx