Concussions in Youth Athletes - South Carolina
Currently, South Carolina has no law regarding concussions. Legislation (HB 3768 and SB 668) were introduced in the 2011 legislative session, but not passed. The last action taken on H 3768 was on April 18, 2012, when a house member requested to be added as a sponsor to the bill. There has been no action taken on S 668 since its referral to the Education Committtee on March 8,2011. On December 11, 2012, H 3061 was pre-filed to the 2013-2014 legislative session.
H 3061 would require the Department of Education to develop and distribute to each local school district model policies to inform and educate coaches, student athletes and parents about the nature and risks of concussions, guidelines for removal from and return to play and risks of continuing participation and not reporting a concussion. Local school districts would be required to develop policies mandating review of information supplied by the districts to a student athlete and parent on an annual basis , both student athletes and parents would need to sign a statement acknowledging receipt of concussion information, mandatory removal of a student athlete suspected of sustain a concussion from play, prohibition of returning to play on the same day of sustaining a suspected concussion, and no return to play until the student athlete has been evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider and has been provided with written clearance to return to play.
H 3768 provides that, in order to participate in extracurricular sports, a student athlete and his or her parent or guardian must review information on concussion provided by the local school district on an annual basis. If a student athlete is suspected of sustaining a concussion or brain injury, they must be removed from play at that time. That student may not return to play that same day nor until they have been evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider and obtained a written clearance to return to play. The legislation states that local school districts may provide the guidelines established by the department pursuant to this section to organizations sponsoring athletic activity for student athletes on school property but that local school districts are not required to enforce compliance with these policies.
S 668 would a new section requiring local school districts to develop policies and procedures regarding concussions in student athletes and return to play including education, annual information sheets to be signed and returned by parents and clearance to return to play by a doctor.
The text of the H 3768, H. 3061 and S 668 can be viewed online at:
Until such time as South Carolina enacts applicable legislation, LLB encourages its leagues, teams and youth sports programs to familiarize themselves with the information and resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, available through their website: www.cdc.gov/Concussion
The Centers for Disease Control Prevention is helping to support states, leagues, and schools by developing educational resources in line with components in many of the return to play laws through the development of a FREE Heads Up program.
The Centers for Disease Control Prevention Heads Up initiative provides the following:
1. Online course for coaches and parents. In under 30 minutes coaches and parents can learn about identifying a suspected concussion and how to respond. After completing the training and quiz, coaches and parents can print out a certificate, making it easy to show their league or school they are ready for the season. Coaches online training can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/HeadsUp/online_training.html
2. Parent/Athlete information sheet with signature lines that can be ordered or downloaded and distributed during registration or prior to the first practice.
3. Online course for health care professionals on concussion in sports diagnosis and return to school and play management. This one hour course provides an overview of what health care professionals need to know about concussion in sports and includes a free continuing education opportunity through the American College of Sports Medicine. Healthcare professionals’ online training can be accessed at http://preventingconcussions.org/