Concussions in Youth Athletes - Ohio
On December 20, 2012, Governor John Kasich signed HB 143 into law. The Act becomes effective on March 20, 2013 and will be a part of Title XXXIII (33) of the Ohio education law dealing with school board and Title XXXVII (37) of the Health and Safety law regarding the Board of Health of the Ohio Revised Code at Sections 3313.539, 3319.303, 3707.51, 3707.511 and 3707.52. On June 30, 2013, amended House Bill 59 was enacted and amended §3313.539.
Section 3313.539 applies to interscholastic athletics and requires athletes to submit a form signed by their parent or guardian stating that they have received the concussion and head injury information sheet required by the Code each year and for each sport in which the student practices or competes. No organization shall permit an individual to act as a coach or referee unless they have successfully completed, within the previous three years, a training program developed under this Code. It also requires the immediate removal of a youth athlete who appears to have suffered a concussion from play or practice, and the student cannot return on the same day, but must be assessed by a physician and receive written clearance to return. The legislation also provides for the creation of a concussion and head injury information sheet to educate coaches, athletes and their parents or guardians of the signs and symptoms of concussion or head injury and the risks of continuing to engage in sports after sustaining a concussion or head injury. An employee or volunteer is not liable for civil damages arising from any act or omission in the assessment of a concussion or head injury and clearance to return to play granted by a physician or athletic director. The 2013 amendment to §3313.539 provides that chiropractors may evaluate and offer written clearance to an individual removed from play in addition to physicians.
The law amended section 3319.303 and now requires that the state board of education adopt standards and requirements for obtaining a pupil activity program permit for both individuals who are licensed and not licensed as educators for coaching, directing or supervising a pupil activity program, which includes successful completion of training program for brain injury and management.
Section 3707.51 defines a youth sports organization as a public or non public entity that organizes an athletic activity for participants 19 years of age or younger, who are required to pay a participation fee or whose cost to participate is sponsored by a business or nonprofit organization. Section 3707.511 requires coaches and referees to complete a concussion training program unless they hold a pupil activity program permit, mandates that the sports organization inform coaches and referees of the required training, provides for the signing of a concussion and head injury information sheet annually by the parent or guardian, which the organization must provide, and contains the same removal / return to play requirements set forth in Section 3313.539 as outlined above except that an individual suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury may be removed by an official of youth sports organization supervising the practice or competition in addition to a coach or referee. Section 3707.52 mandates the department of health create a concussion and head injury information sheet and make it available to participants in interscholastic athletics and youth sports. The information sheet is to be made available on its web site in a format suitable for easy downloading and printing. The website is also to provide a link to one or more free online training programs in recognizing and evaluating concussions and head injuries for coaches of schools and youth sports organizations.
The text of the law can be viewed online at
HB 16 was introduced into the Ohio Legislature and has been referred to the House Health and Aging and the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee. HB 16 as proposed would amend §3313.539 and §3319.303; however, there would no substantive change to the existing law. There has been further action taken on HB 16 since March 13, 2013.
The text of HB 16 can be viewed online at:
***HB 59 as enrolled does appear in the statute at this time, but can be viewed online as part of a larger Act at:
http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/BillText130/130_HB_59_EN_N.html (use Ctrl/find to locate text of amendment to §3313.539)