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Published on Jun 06, 2012 by Edgar Snyder

PA's Youth Sports Concussion Safety Law Goes Into Effect This July

youth concussions

School sports will get a little safer for Pennsylvania students next year. This July, the state joins 37 others and the District of Columbia in implementing laws meant to improve concussion safety for young athletes.

Pennsylvania's "Safety in Youth Sports Act" includes a number of provisions aimed at protecting young athletes, improving concussion management in youth sports, and increasing awareness about the devastating and life-long effects concussions can cause when they are not handled properly. The following are the key elements of the bill:

  • The law applies to all interscholastic athletics at public schools as well as athletic competitions sponsored by or associated with public schools. This includes competitive cheer, non-competitive cheer, and club-sponsored sports activities. It also pertains to practices, interschool practices, and scrimmages.
  • The bill requires students showing symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury to be sidelined and barred from participating in competitions, games, practices, and scrimmages until they are cleared by a licensed physician or certified health care professional.
  • In order to participate in school athletics, students and their parents must sign an annual form acknowledging receipt and review of a concussion and TBI information sheet that outlines the risks associated with these brain injuries.
  • Coaches must complete a Department of Health-approved concussion management certification training course every year if they wish to continue coaching.
  • The bill also establishes penalties for coaches who either fail to remove a player with symptoms of a concussion or allow a player to return to the field without medical clearance. Depending on the number of violations, a coach can be suspended for the remainder of a season, the following season, or permanently banned from coaching.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 300,000 children and teens suffer a sports-related concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year.

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"Passage of Safety in Youth Sports act earns plenty of applause." The Patriot-News. November 2, 2011.
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