Colorado gets tough on student concussions
Known as the “Jake Snakenberg Act”,* Colorado has passed one of the nation’s toughest laws covering school sports and youth athletic activities. Jake was a freshman football player who died in 2004 from second-impact syndrome – a concussion that occurs before an earlier concussion is fully healed.
The new law applies to sports in public and private schools as well as non-school activities such as Little League and Pop Warner football. Coaches are required to participate in annual concussion-recognition training.
When a student athlete is suspected of having a concussion, he or she must be benched and cannot return until cleared by a doctor. Parents must be notified immediately. Once a doctor’s clearance is granted, a registered athletic trainer with specific knowledge of the athlete’s condition will arrange a “graduated return to play.”
The State of New York has also passed concussion legislation requiring a five-day weaning period following a doctor’s clearance. South Dakota also passed concussion legislation and the National Football League has encouraged all 50 states to do the same. Major League Baseball recently adopted a 7-day disabled list for concussed players.
In July, 2011, the governor of Illinois signed a bill regarding concussion education that went into effect immediately. It says that student athletes with concussions must get medical approval before resuming play. The law also requires education for coaches, parents, referees and players about concussion symptoms. Take a look at the new e-learning policy for mandatory concussion education for all student athletes in Arizona: http://www.stjosephs-phx.org/Who_We_Are/Press_Center/218754
Update: As of August, 2011, 31 states and the District of Columbia have enacted concussion-management laws for student athletes. Click here for details.