Senate Bill 200 provides safeguards for student athletes
The Senate Education Committee today approved Senate Bill 200, a measure introduced by Senator Pat Browne (R-16) to increase awareness and prevention of traumatic head injuries among Pennsylvania’s scholastic athletes.
Senator Browne’s proposed Safety in Youth Sports Act aims to ensure that student athletes who suffer concussions receive proper care and rest before they get back into the game. The bill states that a player who shows symptoms of sustaining a concussion would not be able to return to play until they are cleared by an appropriate medical professional. It also would require students and a parent or guardian to read and sign a concussion awareness sheet so they are better informed about injuries that may be sustained on the field.
“It wasn’t all that long ago that these injuries were downplayed. It was common just to say that a player simply got his “bell rung” after a violent collision. Often, these players were told to just “shake it off” and get back on to the field,” Senator Browne said. “We now know that severe and repeated concussive injuries dramatically impact the brain and too many players are paying a heavy price for those injuries now. In some cases, athletes’ careers — and even their lives — were cut short by the intensity and cumulative impact of those injuries.”
SB 200 sets the following requirements:
- require the Department of Health and the Department of Education post information on risks of head injuries and concussions on their websites;
- require students and their parents review information regarding the risk of head injuries and concussions before they participate in scholastic sports activities;
- require students showing signs of brain trauma be taken out of a game and be evaluated by a health practitioner who specializes in brain injury before they return to participation – with penalties for coaches who violate this provision; and,
- requires training of coaches in the risk of brain injury in scholastic sports in a program certified by the CDC or the National Federation of State High School Associations.