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Concussions in Youth Athletes - Wisconsin

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Legislature passed Assembly Bill 259 (Sidelined for Safety Act), which became law on April 2, 2012 (Act 172) when it was signed by Governor Scott Walker and can be found at newly created Section 118.293 of the Wisconsin Statutes (W.S.A. Section 118.293). This law is under the Public Instruction statutes and General School Operations. The statute was amended with the passage of SB 258 (Act 93) on December 16, 2013.

The law requires the Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Association to develop guidelines to inform and educate pupil athletes, their parents or guardians, and coaches of the nature and risk of concussion in youth athletic activities. The statute defines “youth athletic activity” as an organized athletic activity in which participants, a majority of whom are under 19 years of age, are engaged in an athletic game or competition or in a practice or preparation for an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club, or entity. It requires a person operating a youth athletic league to distribute a concussion and head injury information sheet annually to each coach and to each participating athlete. The information sheet for each youth athlete shall be signed by a parent or guardian and returned prior to participation. It also requires the removal of a youth athlete by a coach, official or health care provider if it is determined that that person exhibits signs and symptoms of concussion or head injury and if a concussion is suspected. The athlete may not return until an evaluation by a licensed health care professional and receiving written clearance to return. The law defines “health care provider” to be a person who holds a credential (license or certificate of certification issued by State of Wisconsin), is trained and has experience in evaluating and managing pediatric concussions and head injuries and is practicing within the scope of the credential held. Coaches, officials or volunteers are immune from civil liability unless an omission rises to the level of gross negligence or wanton or willful misconduct. The 2013 amendment renumbered paragraph (3) of §118.293 to §118.293 (3)(a) and added paragraph (b), which essentially provides that a public or private school or private club shall not be required to distribute an information sheet to a pupil or youth athlete, if one has been previously provided and returned by the athlete previously within the school year or a prior 365 day period.

The text of Section 118.293 is available online at:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/118/293

A.B. 293 was introduced on August 20, 2013 and referred to the committee on Health. The proposed legislation would require that a person operating a youth athletic activity for which an activity fee is charge not permit an individual to serve as an official unless the person has completed an online concussion and head injury program within the previous 3 years. The text of A.B. 293 can be viewed online at:

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/ab293