Youth-Concussion Law Update: New Hampshire Makes 39
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch held a bill-signing ceremony for his state's youth-concussion legislation on Monday, making New Hampshire the 39th state (along with the District of Columbia) to enact such a measure.
It becomes effective on Aug. 17, in time for the start of this coming school year.
The New Hampshire law contains at least two of the three provisions of the NFL's model youth-concussion legislation, in that high school student-athletes suspected of a sports-related concussion must be removed from play immediately, and such student-athletes won't be allowed to return to play before receiving medical clearance from a health-care provider.
A parent or guardian also must provide written permission before a student-athlete suspected of a concussion can return to play, under the new law.
Where it appears to fall somewhat short, however, is the third prong of the NFL's model legislation: the mandate that athletes, parents, and coaches must be educated about the dangers of concussions on an annual basis.
Based on my reading of the law, it only encourages schools to distribute concussion information to parents and guardians; it doesn't require them do so. Nowhere in the text of the law does it say districts and schools will be required to gather signatures from parents or guardians before initially allowing student-athletes to participate in sports, which differs from a number of other states' recently passed youth-concussion laws.
I've reached out to the governor's office to confirm my reading of the law, and will update this post once I hear back.
The law also lacks a mandatory training component for coaches and other school-based athletic officials.
Still, some form of youth-concussion prevention is better than nothing, as many youth-safety advocates are quick to say.
"I feel very thankful that my grandchildren, who are involved (in sports) will be playing with this statute in place," said Rep. Rick Ladd at the bill signing, according to the Associated Press.
Upcoming youth-concussion webinars: For anyone in search of more youth-concussion education, a host of webinars this week will be addressing the topic.
It all started at 2 p.m. Eastern today, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted a free webinar on returning to school after a concussion. CDC experts discussed the impact of concussions on a student's ability to learn and how educators can help support students in their return from the injury.
Tomorrow at noon ET, the National Athletic Trainers' Association will host a low-cost webinar on dual-task paradigms and their role in the return-to-play process for concussed student-athletes.
Finally, on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET, the Stop Sports Injuries campaign has collaborated on a free webinar for parents and coaches about how to keep student-athletes safe when dealing with concussions.
With preseason right around the corner for most schools' fall sports, now's a great time for a youth-concussion refresher course.
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