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Concussions in Youth Athletes - New Mexico

New Mexico

The New Mexico law is found at Section 22-13-31 of the New Mexico Code, under the title on public schools and the chapter on courses and instruction and school programs. (N.M. Stat. § 22-13-31). On March 4, 2016, the Governor signed New Mexico S.B. 137 into law, which amended 22-33-31 and added a new Section 22-13.31.1 (Lexis citation), which became effective May 18, 2016.

New Mexico law requires that coaches may not allow any student exhibiting the symptoms of a brain injury to participate in a school athletic activity. Any student diagnosed with or suspected of a brain injury may return to participation no sooner than two hundred forty hours from the hour in which the brain injury was received and only after no longer exhibiting signs, symptoms or behavior consistent and receiving a medical release from a licensed health care professional. School districts must provide training to coaches and the New Mexico activities association must develop rules and protocols regarding concussions. In addition, an information sheet on concussions must be provided at the start of the school year and be signed by the student athlete and the parent/guardian before their child may participate in the athletic activity. The law defines student athletic activity as a sanctioned middle, junior or high school function that the New Mexico activities association regulates. A student athlete is a middle, junior or high school student who engages in, is eligible to engage in, or seeks to engage in a school athletic activity. The amendment to §22-33-31 defines non-scholastic youth athletic activity as an organized athletic activity in which the participants, a majority of whom are under nineteen (19) years of age, are engaged in an athletic game, competition against another team, club, or entity or in practice for an organized game or competition. As a condition of allowing non-scholastic youth athletic activity to take place on school district, the superintendent of a school district shall require the person offering the activity to sign a certification that the provisions of the brain injury protocols established by the 2016 amendments will be followed. 

§12-13-31.1 defines “youth athlete” as an individual under 19 years of age who engages in, is eligible to engage in or seeks to engage in a community athletic activity. “Youth athletic activity means an organizedathletic activity in which the participants, a majority of whom are under nineteen years of age, are engaged in an athletic game or competition against another team, club or entity, or in practice or preparation for an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club or entity and does not include an elementary school, middle school, high school, college or university activity or an activity that is incidental to a nonathletic program. Coaches may not allow any youth athlete exhibiting the symptoms of or who has been diagnosed with a brain injury to participate in an athletic activity. Any youth athlete suspected or sustaining a brain injury may return to participation no sooner than two hundred forty hours from the hour in which the brain injury was received and only after no longer exhibiting signs, symptoms or behavior consistent with a brain injury and receiving a medical release from a licensed health care professional. Each youth athletic league shall ensure that each coach receives training and the New Mexico activities association must develop rules and protocols regarding concussions. In addition, an information sheet on concussions must be provided at the beginning of each athletic season or participation in youth athletic activities and be signed by the youth athlete and the parent/guardian before the child may participate in any youth athletic activity.

Sections 22-33-31 and 22-33-31.1 can be viewed online at:

http://public.nmcompcomm.us/nmpublic/gateway.dll/?f=templates&fn=default.htm (Click to expand Statutes, Rules and Const tab, click to expand first NMSA (unannotated, click to expand Ch. 22 and then click to view desired section).

S.B. 137 can be viewed online at:

https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/BillFinder/Number (search Session - 2016 Regular, Chamber – Senate, Type – Bill and Number 137).

The following website offers additional information regarding New Mexico concussion law:

http://www.nmact.org/sports-medicine-advisory-committee (scroll down to concussion management)