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Calif. Expands Youth-Concussion Law to Private, Charter Schools

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation yesterday that requires private and charter schools to immediately remove any student-athlete from play if he or she is suspected of having sustained a concussion.

The state's original youth-concussion law, signed back in October 2011, only covered public schools. It contained all three provisions of the National Football League's model legislation, Washington state's Lystedt Law, which are as follows:

  • Student-athletes, parents, and guardians must annually sign an information form about the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries;
  • Any youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion during a practice or game must be immediately removed from play; and
  • After being removed due to a concussion, a student-athlete cannot return to play before receiving medical clearance from a licensed health-care professional.

The new law, which was approved unanimously by the state Assembly back on September 10, simply extends these provisions to student-athletes at private and charter schools. It goes into effect in January.

"Our student athletes have not been equally protected from the dangers of concussion injury and re-injury," said the bill's author, Assemblyman Steve Fox, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Now all pupils will be safer in the sports activities they enjoy."

Most states' youth-concussion laws contain the three major provisions of the Lystedt Law, according to a study published earlier this year in the American Journal of Public Health. Very few states' laws, however, extend their reach beyond public schools.

All but one state (Mississippi) currently has some form of youth-concussion legislation. Now that they've got the initial laws on the books, the next logical step is what California just did: tinkering with certain regulations to ensure the safety of as many youth-athletes as possible.

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