Concussions in Youth Athletes - Massachusetts
Governor Patrick signed SB 2469 into law on July 8, 2010. This law can be found in chapter 111 section 222 of the Massachusetts Code. Chapter 111 deals with public health. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 111, § 222).
This law requires that a concussion training program be developed by the division of violence and injury prevention for schools subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to participate in and makes annual participation mandatory for any parent, coach, or volunteers, among others, of any extracurricular athletic activity. The law encourages the use of information from the CDC for the development of the program and requires the program to develop forms regarding concussions requiring the signature of the both the student and the student’s parent/guardian before participation in an athletic activity. If a student who is participating in extracurricular activity become unconscious during play or has suffered a concussion as diagnosed by a medical professional, that athlete may not return to the activity until cleared in writing by a health care professional. A school district is required to maintain records under this law. Although the law does not waive liability or immunity of a school district, its officers or employees, no liability is created and any person volunteering to assist with an extracurricular athletic activity is immune from damages unless willfully or wantonly negligent in act or omission.
The official versions of these sections are currently available online at:
The following bills have been introduced in to the Massachusetts Legislature to amend the present law.
The texts of the bills can be viewed online as follows:
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H1982 (would require coaches, athletic directors, and parents of a child who participates in an interscholastic athletic activity to take such course every two (2) years. On November 21, 2013, the proposed legislation was referred to the committee on Health Care Financing);
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H1928 (would require the creation, implementation, and maintain of a mandatory baseline and follow-up concussion testing for public and private school high school aged athletes or those subject to Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules by any health care professionals previously listed in the statute who submit clearance and who are also trained in baseline concussion testing administration. On November 21, 2013, H1928 was noted to accompany a new draft [see S1933, which can be viewed online at https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1933).
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1088 (very similar to S1928). On November 21, 2013, H1928 was noted to accompany a new draft [see S1933, which can be viewed online at https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1933).
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H1887 (would extend the provisions of the statute to private and charter schools. On December 2, 2013, H1887 was accompanied in newly drafted H3806);
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1023 (would extend the requirements of the statute to all schools including schools subject to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council rules. On December 2, 2013, S1023 was accompanied in newly drafted H3806);
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/Senate/S1077 ( very similar to H1982 except that those individuals identified in H1982 would be required to complete a concussion training program every 4 years. On November 21, 2013 S1077 was accompanied by H1982).
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H1983 (would include physician assistants and neuropsychologists to individuals required to undergo training. On November 21, 2013, the proposed legislation was referred to the committee on Health Care Financing).
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H2056 (would add definitions for youth [an individual who is 18 or younger], youth athletic activity [an organized athletic activity where the majority of participants are 18 or younger], and youth sports organizations[any public or private organization or school that organizes, operates, manages or sponsors a youth athletic activity for its students, members, enrollees or attendees]. All youth sports organizations would be required to participate in a interscholastic head injury training safety program, which would require annual training for coaches, trainers, parent volunteers, physicians and nurses who volunteer or are employed by a youth sport organization, and parents of youth participants. Youth sports organizations would be required to maintain complete and accurate records of its compliance with the law. The failure to do so could subject the youth sports organization to penalties to be determined by the Department. Youth athletes and parents would be required to submit a head injury history form at the start of each season. If a youth athlete becomes unconscious during play or practice, they may not return until written clearance is received from an identified health care provider. Coaches, trainers, employees, or volunteers shall not encourage or permit any unreasonable dangerous athletic technique that unnecessarily endangers the health of a youth athlete. No report of the bill history was available since the scheduled joint hearing by the House and Senate on September 10, 2013).
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/188/House/H3806 (would extend the provisions of the statute to private and charter schools and schools subject to the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council. On December 2, 2013, this proposed legislation was referred to the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling).