Concussions in Youth Athletes - West Virginia
Currently, West Virginia has no law or pending legislation regarding concussions. However, on January 18, 2012 Senate Bill 340 and on January 30 , 2012 House Bill 4340 were introduced. There has been no action taken on SB 340 since March 2012 and no further action has transpired on HB 4340 since its referral to committee .
The amended version of SB 340 would require that the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission to promulgate rules providing for guidelines, pertinent information and a form to inform and educate school administrators, coaches, interscholastic athletes and their parents and guardians regarding the nature and risk of concussion and head injury including continuing participation in play or practice after sustaining a concussion or head injury. The bill defines an “interscholastic athlete” as any athlete who is participating in interscholastic athletics at a high or middle school who is a member of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. The bill would require that each year before participation in any activity a concussion and head injury information sheet must be signed by the athlete’s parent or guardian and returned prior the athlete’s participation in practice or competition. An athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in practice or a game shall be removed from the competition at that time. Any athlete removed from further competition must be evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and must receive written clearance to return to play and practice. A volunteer authorizing a return to play or practice is not liable for civil damages unless in rendering such care acts or omissions rise to the level of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
HB 4340 is similar, but less extensive and has not been subject to the same level of activity as SB 340. One common provision that differs is that the annual information form provided for in SB 340 would be required to be signed according to the proposed legislation in HB 340
The text of the SB 340 and amendments can be viewed online at:
The text of the SB 4340 and amendments can be viewed online at:
Until such time as West Virginia 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/