Youth Sports Concussion Protocols - What’s Changed?

With youth football season right around the corner, it’s a great time to start thinking about concussion safety. Each year in the United States, football consistently yields the highest incidence of concussions across all levels of play. Of these sustained concussions, about half go unreported or undetected. 

Today, all 50 states have some form of legislation regarding sport-related concussions. However, each policy varies widely, so volunteer sports coaches, athletic trainers, parents and athletes should take the time to understand their respective State and local concussion policies. The below information is current as of 2017.

  • Removal From Play: 48 states require that students suspected of sustaining a concussion be removed from play for the remainder of the day or 24 hours. Arizona and South Carolina allow these athletes to return to play the same day if cleared by a healthcare professional.
  • Medical Clearance: All states require medical clearance before a student may return to play. Volunteer coaches and parents of youth athletes should understand what kind of healthcare professionals are legally allowed to provide medical clearance in their State. 
  • Education Requirements: All states require some form of concussion awareness or education, although many requirements are ambiguous regarding who should receive such education and how often. Concussion-education requirements for youth athletes, parents, volunteer coaches, and healthcare professionals vary from State to State. It is important for volunteer coaches to learn and follow their state and school policies regarding concussion education.
  • Return to Learn: 12 states have concussion laws that include language regarding return-to-learn policies. 

Staying current on respective state and local concussion policies safeguards athletes from potential harm and protects volunteer coaches. Through proper education, compliance, and documentation, volunteer coaches can ensure that they prioritize athlete safety and maintain high standards for their organization. Risk management technology like InjureFree’s platform provides an all-in-one space for volunteer coaches to feel empowered in their athlete safety initiatives. 

Click here to learn more about HEADS UP concussion information specific to coaches, parents, sports officials and youth athletes and here to view concussion legislation by State.

References

  1. https://www.injurefree.com/ 
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, March 5). Heads up to youth sports. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/youthsports/index.html
  3. Concussion legislation by State. Concussion Legislation by State. (n.d.). https://www.shapeamerica.org/MemberPortal/standards/guidelines/Concussion/state-policy.aspx#:~:text=Today%2C%20all%2050%20states%20have,legislation%20regarding%20sport%2Drelated%20concussion.&text=Because%20such%20policies%20vary%20widely,addition%20to%20their%20school%20policy.

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