FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tim Briggs
Briggs: Student concussion bill headed to governor
HARRISBURG, Nov. 1 – State Rep. Tim Briggs, D-Montgomery, said the state Senate today unanimously passed legislation that would create the Safety in Youth Sports Act, designed to improve concussion management in youth sports and to increase awareness regarding the devastating, life-long effects they can cause when not handled properly.
The House passed the bill earlier this month, with minor amendments, so it had to return to the Senate for a concurrence vote and now moves to the governor for his signature.
Briggs said the Safety in Youth Sports Act (S.B. 200), which he co-introduced in the House and Senate with state Sen. Pat Browne, R-16, aims to ensure that male and female student athletes who suffer concussions receive proper care and rest before they get back into the game.
"I made this important legislation one of my top priorities when I was elected to the legislature in 2008, and it has evolved into a strong bill that that does right by Pennsylvania's kids," Briggs said. "The Safety in Youth Sports Act will help protect the Commonwealth's richest resource: our children’s minds.”
The bill would require students and a parent or guardian to annually read and sign a concussion and head injury awareness sheet before the student participates in practice or competition so they are better informed about injuries that may be sustained on the field and how treatment would proceed. Briggs said this information sheet will include materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Head's Up program.
Also under the bill, a player who exhibits symptoms of sustaining a concussion would be removed from play and not be able to return to play until cleared by an appropriate medical professional. Coaches, trainers, physicians, physical therapists and game officials would be authorized to remove players for suspected head injuries and would be protected from civil liability for doing so.
Briggs said the bill also would require coaches annually to complete a concussion certification course, such as the free online course offered by the CDC or another course approved by the Department of Health. Coaches would be prohibited from coaching until the course is completed.
Coaches who fail to comply would face a suspension for the remainder of the season on a first offense; the current season and the next for a second offense; and a lifetime suspension of any coaching activity for a third offense.
In addition to football, the Safety in Youth Sports Act would pertain to cheerleading and club sports like rugby and hockey, which typically see many concussions but do not operate under interscholastic athletic associations.