Concussions in Youth Athletes

Fifty (50) states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which address concussions and protect the health and safety of young athletes.  Little League Baseball, Incorporated (LLB) has compiled a summary of all currently existing state laws regarding concussions in youth athletics.

Some laws are only applicable to school-sponsored athletics or to activities taking place on school-owned property. Some laws are applicable to all youth sports organizations, whether affiliated or not with a school district.  It is strongly recommended that local leagues consult with legal counsel in its jurisdiction to determine the applicability, if any, of state laws to its program regarding concussions.

In keeping with its focus on protecting the health, safety and welfare of children, LLB requires all leagues and teams to comply with all applicable laws and recommends the  review of the information and training materials on concussions which are available free of charge on the Centers For Disease Control website at:

cdc.gov/headsup/

Free CDC HEADS UP Microsite Provides Concussion Safety Info for Your Website

The microsite offers a simple way for you to share HEADS UP tools and concussion safety information directly through your own website. All content is maintained by the CDC and syndicated to your site, which means that, once embedded, the microsite will automatically keep your site current with the latest HEADS UP content.

Check out the microsite and grab the embed code. For technical help please email: IMTech@cdc.gov.

Here are others ways to do your part to get concussion safety on every field:

• Download the HEADS UP concussion app.
• Customize CDC HEADS UP fact sheets and posters with your league logo and colors.
• Take an online training.

The microsite allows you to choose content by sport (baseball/softball) and provides color options to match your league. It includes links to popular HEADS UP resources, such as trainings and videos, as well as new sports-specific safety tips.

More information on how to review an individual state’s concussion law can be found by clicking the particular state link below.

The information that follows is current up to and including: January 2, 2020.

State Concussion Laws

  • Federal

    There is no current federal law related to youth and/or student concussions or concussion management programs.  However, 42 USCS §280b-1d under the Public Health title dealing with Prevention and Control of Injuries provides for the implementation of concussion data collection by the CDC and analysis in order to determine the prevalence and incidence of concussion on a national basis.  The law also provides for the creation of a registry to collect data regarding demographic information about each traumatic brain injury, information surrounding the injury event, dates of injury, hospitalization, and treatment and characterizations of the clinical aspects of the injury.

    The text of 42 USCS §280b-1d can be viewed online at:

    https://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=granuleid:USC-prelim-title42-section280b-1c&num=0&edition=prelim

  • Wisconsin

    The Wisconsin law called the “Sidelined for Safety Act” is found at 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 section.

    The Wisconsin 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 nineteen (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.  Youth athletic activity does not include college or university activity or an activity that is incidental to a nonathletic program.  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.  A private club is not required to distribute an information sheet to a person who wishes to participate in a youth athletic activity, if the person has returned an appropriate signed information sheet to the club within the previously 365 days.  Likewise, a private or public school is not required to issue an information sheet to a pupil who wishes to participate in a youth athletic activity who has previously returned an appropriately signed information for another youth activity operated during the same school year.  The law 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 text of § 118.293 is available online at:

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

    The following website offers additional information regarding Wisconsin concussion law:

    http://www.wiaawi.org/Health/Concussions.aspx

  • Wyoming

    The Wyoming law is found at Sections 21-2-202 and 21-3-110 of the Wyoming Code, under the title dealing with Education. (Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§§ 21.2-202(a) (xxxiii) and 21-3-110(a) (xxxii).

    Wyoming law requires the state superintendent and the board of trustees for each school district to develop protocols and guidelines regarding concussions, which no district shall be required to adopt.  School district protocols must include training of coaches, restrictions on participation after sustaining a concussion, and means to provide concussion information to students and parents.

    The Wyoming Code is currently available online at:

    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/wystatutes/  (using search all documents in this source button search for concussion).

    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:  http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/index.html

    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 thirty (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/headsup/youthsports/training/index.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:

    https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/providers/training/index.html
    http://nfhslearn.com/courses?searchText=Concussion
    http://www.whsaa.org/handbook/Handbook.pdf  (ctrl “F” and search concussion