Concussions in Youth Athletes - Tennessee
Currently, Tennessee has no law regarding concussions. Two (2) bills HB 3399 and corresponding SB 3268 were introduced on January 26, 2012. There were several bills introduced in 2011 as well. SB 841 was withdrawn on February 2, 2012. The last actions taken on HB 978 was 2/22/2011 when it was assigned to a House Education Subcommittee. HB 312 and SB 589 were originally introduced on February 7 & 10, 2011 and have only been dealt with in subcommittee. SB 1120 / HB 1753 were introduced on February 17, 2011. All 2011 bills were referred to committee. No action has been taken on HB 3399 or SB 3268 since April 2012 when referred to Committee.
The 2012 proposed legislation requires the governing body of every private and public school to develop guidelines and information regarding concussions, parents to sign and return an acknowledgement of receipt and review of a concussion information sheet each year, and coaches and other school employees involved in athletic activities to complete an annual training program offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The law would require removal of a youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion from play or practice immediately at the time of the suspected concussion, and an athlete who has been removed from participation may not return until they are evaluated and cleared for return in writing by a licensed health care provider. “Youth athletic activity” is defined as an organized athletic activity where the majority of participants are 7 years of age or older and under 19 years of age. and are engaging in an organized game, competition, practice or preparation for a game or competition against another team, club or entity. Activities entered into for instructional purposes are excluded from the definition.
The text and history of the bills introduced in 2011 and HB 3399 and SB 3268 can be viewed online at (click on bill no. to view text):
Until such time as Tennessee 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/