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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Tennessee

Tennessee

On April 12, 2013, Governor Bill Haslam signed SB 882 into law, which became effective on January 1, 2014. This law can be found at sections 68-55-501 through 68-55-503 of Tennessee Code under the Health, Safety and Environmental Protection statutes.

This law applies to school youth athletic activity as well as community-based athletic activity, the latter of which is defined as an athletic activity organized by a city, county, business or nonprofit organization where the majority of the participants are under eighteen (18) years of age and engage in an organized athletic competition or competition. In either case, the law requires adoption of guidelines, other information and forms approved by the health department to inform coaches, parents, youth athletes about the nature and risk of concussion and head injury and the continuation of play after sustaining a concussion or head injury. Coaches will be required to complete an annual training program approved by the department of health. Annually a concussion and head injury information sheet will be reviewed by all youth athletes and a parent and signed. It is required that documentation and signed concussion information sheets be retained for a period of three (3) years. A youth athlete exhibiting signs, symptoms and behaviors consistent with concussion must be immediately removed from play and evaluated by a team medical provider, coach or other designated person. A youth athlete sustaining or suspected of having sustained may not return to play until undergoing an evaluation by health care provider and receiving written notification. A team medical provider may manage a student athlete’s graduated return to play based upon a health care provider’s recommendations. No health care provider or any person acting in good faith shall be liable in the absence of willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard. All health care professional performing any functions in accordance with this law shall receive training in concussion evaluation and management.

The text of §68-55-501, §68-55-502 and §68-55-503 can be viewed online by access free public access to LexisNexis:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/ - (click on “agree,” and on the + buttons for Title 68, “Health,” Chapter 55, Part 5 “Youth and Sport Related Injuries”.

There is no legislation pending at the present time to amend or repeal this statute.