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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Maryland

Maryland

The Maryland law is located at §7-433 of the Maryland Code, under the education title, in the division related to elementary and secondary education and the chapter devoted to public schools, in the section on the health and safety of students. (Md. Code Ann. Educ. § 7-433) and § 14-501 of the Maryland Code under the health title in the chapter related to general day care and subtitled youth sports programs. On May 5, 2014, Maryland HB 0427 became law (Chapter 403) amending §14-501 and now includes the Maryland Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, which can be found at §7-436 of the Maryland educational law. The new law has an effective date of July 1, 2014.

Section 7-433 of the Maryland law defines youth sports program (see below) and requires the Department of Education to develop policies and a program of concussion awareness for staff, students, coaches and parents/guardians of student athletes. The law requires that before a student participates in any athletic activity, the student and their parents/guardians must sign a concussion information form. A student must be removed from play if they are suspected of sustaining a concussion and may not return to play until cleared in writing by a health care professional. Before an individual may participate in an authorized athletic activity on school property, the parents of the individual must be given an information form on concussions and sign an acknowledgment of its receipt. Youth sports programs that use public school facilities must annually provide to the county board a statement of their intent to comply with all the requirements of this section.

Section 14-501 defines youth athlete as an individual who participates in an athletic activity in association with a youth sports program at a public school facility or by a recreational athletic organization. Youth sports program is a program organized for recreational competition or instruction for participants who are under 19 years of age. The amendment also defines cardiac arrest as a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. A youth sports organization shall make information on concussions and sudden cardiac arrest developed by the Education Department to available to coaches, youth athletes and parents. A youth athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or other head injury shall be removed at the time and may not return to play until obtaining a written clearance from a qualified health care provider. Prior to a youth sports program using a facility owned or operated by local government, notice of these provisions must be provided to the youth sports program by the local government.

The Maryland Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, which can be found at §7-436 of the Maryland educational law, similarly defines youth sports program as a program organized for recreational competition or instruction for participants who are under 19 years of age. The law applies to and defines interscholastic athletics in public schools. Youth sports programs that use a public school facility are required to annually provide a statement of its intent to comply with the statute, place notice on the registration form that information on sudden cardiac arrest is available and provide directions for retrieving the information electronically and have the parent and youth athlete acknowledge receipt of information. A youth sports program not using a public school facility is encouraged to follow the provisions of the law.

The new law is not available online, but Chapter 403 (contains §4-736 and amended §14-501) can be viewed online at:

http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2014RS/Chapters_noln/CH_403_hb0427t.pdf

Section 7-433 can be view online at:

http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmStatutesText.aspx?article=ged§ion=7-433&ext=html&session=2014RS&tab=subject5