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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Virginia

Virginia

The Virginia law can be found at section 22.1-271.5 and section 22.1-271.6 of the Virginia Code, under the title dealing with education and the chapter dealing with pupils and article pertaining to health provisions. (Va. Code Ann. §22.1-271.5 and §22.1-271.6). On March 1, 2016, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed Virginia H.B. 954 amending §22.1-271.5 and §22.1-271.6 to include a return to learn protocol for students who have sustained concussions or other head injuries.

Virginia law requires that the Board of Education develop and distribute guidelines and policies on concussion to each school division. Each school division must develop policies and procedures for the handling of suspected concussions in student athletes. To be eligible to participate in an extracurricular physical activity, the student athlete and the student athlete’s parent/guardian must annually review concussion information and both must sign an acknowledgement form. Any student suspected of sustaining a concussion must be removed from the activity at that time and may not return to play the same day and until evaluated by a licensed health care provider and given written clearance. The law defines a non-interscholastic youth sports program as a program organized for competition or recreational athletic instruction for youth. A non-interscholastic youth program utilizing public school property is required to establish policies and procedures for identifying and managing concussions consistent with those protocols above or follow the guidelines established by the Board of Education. The newly enacted return to learn protocol requires school personnel to be alert for cognitive and academic issues that may arise as a result of a concussion or other head injury and accommodate the gradual return to full participation in academic activities of a student who has sustained a concussion.

Section 22.1-271.6 requires the Board of Education to amend its guidelines related to concussions in student athletes to include a “Return to Learn Protocol” based on requirements set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the statute and is titled School Division Policies and Procedures on Concussions in Student-Athletes.

Sections 22.1-271.5 and 22.1-271.6 as amended are not available online at this time; however, enacted Virginia H.B. 954 can be viewed online at:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?161+ful+CHAP0151

The following websites offer additional information regarding Virginia concussion law:

http://www.vhsl.org/sportsmed.concussions

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/boe/guidance/health/2015_guidelines_concussions_in_student_athletes.pdf