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Youth-Concussion-Law Watch: Pa. Makes 35

Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett signed a statewide youth-concussion law on Monday, making Pennsylvania the 35th state (along with the District of Columbia) to have one.

"We all know that athletes just want to get back into the game, but this bill says: 'Hold on. Take your time,' " Gov. Corbett said during a news conference at Lower Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, according to The Morning Call. "Let's play hard, but let's play smart."

Pennsylvania's law requires coaches to undergo free, online, annual concussion training before being allowed to coach school sports. Roughly half the states that currently have youth-concussion laws require some form of concussion training for coaches, although some states only mandate bi- or triannual training.

The new law also contains the three main provisions of Washington state's Zackery Lystedt law, which the NFL considers model youth-concussion legislation.

Those provisions are: A student-athlete's parent or guardian must sign a concussion-awareness information form before the student-athlete is eligible to participate in school athletics; any student-athlete suspected of a concussion must immediately be removed from play; and any student-athlete who has a concussion must obtain medical clearance before being allowed to return to practice or competition.

Any coach found in violation of the removal-from-play and return-to-play policies would be suspended from coaching for the rest of the season, just for the first offense. If any coach gets caught violating the policy three times, he/she would be banned from coaching any youth athletic activity permanently.

The new law takes effect on July 1, 2012, in time for the 2012-13 school year.

Check out our updated interactive map for the status of each state's youth-concussion law.

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