Concussions in Youth Athletes - Pennsylvania
The Governor approved a bill on November 9, 2011. This law can be found at 24 P.S. section 5321 through 24 P.S. section 5323 of the Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes of the education title, and will be effective July 1, 2012. (24 P.S. §§ 5321- 5323).
This law requires that the Department of Health and the Department of Education develop guidelines and materials on concussions. Each year, a student participating in an athletic activity must have a parent/guardian sign acknowledgement of receipt of this information before the student may participate in the activity. The law requires any student suspected of sustaining a concussion must be removed from participation at that time and is not allowed to resume participation until evaluated by a medical professional and given written clearance. The law also requires that coaches receive concussion training once each school year.
The sponsors of youth athletic activities not addressed by this act are encouraged to follow the guidance set forth in the act.
The text of these sections can be viewed online at:
http://government.westlaw.com/linkedslice/default.asp?SP=pac-1000 (click on Title 24 P.S. Education, click on the +Chapter 20 – Safety and Health, click on +SAFETY IN YOUTH SPORTS ACT to view sections 5321, 5322, and 5323).
On January 14, 2013, SB 74 was introduced and was referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. As proposed, SB 74 would amend §5323 by requiring a school to hold an informational meeting prior to the start of the athletic season for all ages of competitors. It would also require all coaches, participating designated game officials, athletic trainers and referees to annually complete a concussion management certification training course. Finally, the proposed legislation would empower the Pa Department of Health with oversight and enforcement responsibilities and would permit the levying of fines on a governing body of a school for a coach who fails to remove a student who exhibits signs or symptoms of a concussion and/or for failing to follow return to play procedures outline by the statute.
The text of SB 74 can be viewed on line at: