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Concussions in Youth Athletes - New Mexico

New Mexico

The New Mexico law can be 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, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez 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 an athletic activity. Any student 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 or who has been diagnosed with a brain injury 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 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. 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 start of the school year and be signed by the youth athlete and the parent/guardian before their child may participate in any youth athletic activity.

The official versions of sections 22-33-31 and 22-33-31.1 are currently not available online; however, 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)