The Pennsylvania Safety in Youth Sport Act (Act 101) was signed into law by Governor Corbett which took effect on July 1, 2012. The bill establishes standards for managing concussion and traumatic brain injuries for student athletes. In order to manage these injuries adequately and consistently, procedures have been developed establishing how concussed athletes are identified, treated, referred appropriately, receive academic assistance, and meet the return to play criteria. In order to return to play the athlete must be cleared by a licensed psychologist trained in neuropsychology, by a physician who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, or by certain other health care providers under the supervision of the physician.
The bill requires the state Department of Health and Education to develop and post on their websites information on the nature of concussions in athletic activities and the risks associated with continuing to play or practice after a concussion. Student-athletes and their parents or guardians must sign an acknowledgement of receipt of an information sheet on concussions prior to participation in athletics (Section 3 of CIPPE form). It will require coaches to complete a concussion management certification training course before coaching any athletic activity. During an athletic contest coaches will be required to remove athletes from competition or practice if they exhibit signs of a concussion. “When in doubt – sit them out”
- Nature of Concussions and Risk
- The State law in Pennsylvania regarding concussions states that any athlete exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a concussion or a traumatic brain injury must be removed from the game or practice and must be evaluated by the appropriate medical professional before returning to play.
- A coach or parent may not return an athlete to play following a concussion, a written release from the above list of appropriate medical professional must be obtained
- Mandatory education is important for all athletes, parents and coaches regarding the signs and symptoms of a concussion or traumatic brain injury. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is an excellent resource for Concussion in Sport and Injury Prevention and control. Information is available from the following sites:
- Acknowledgement of Risk and Receipt of Concussion information
- The PIAA Comprehensive Initial Pre-participation Physical Evaluation Form (CIPPE) Section 3 contains the requirement that parents acknowledge the risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury in sport and sign accordingly.
- Coaches Concussion Management Certification Required
- All coaches of interscholastic athletic teams, other coaches of sports associated with Franklin Regional will be required to take the online certification course from the NFHS.
- Coaches need to complete the course between July 1st and August 1st directly prior to the school year they intend to coach.
- The certificate is valid for 1 year only and must be retaken for every subsequent year of coaching
- Coaches hired after the August 1st deadline will be obligated to complete the course, and have it on file prior to the legal start date of that respective season.
- The NFHS online course, “Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know.” It is a complimentary online course designed to familiarize those associated with interscholastic athletics on the signs, symptoms, and treatment related to concussion in sports. The only requirement is a quick and easy registration at www.nfhslearn.com