This past April, Georgia became the 46th state to enact a youth concussion law. Georgia’s law was passed following the publication of a number of studies emphasizing the seriousness and prevalence of concussions in youth sports. According to one study, for example, nearly 10 percent of all student athletes suffer at least one concussion during one season.
What are the basic contours of the new law?
Georgia’s youth concussion law contains all three major elements of the National Football League’s model anti-concussion regulations, including:
Concussion information form — Parents must sign a concussion information form that explains the risks of concussions and head injuries before a student is permitted to participate in a sport.
Remove injured athletes from games — The new law states that a school must remove an athlete who suffers concussion symptoms from the game, tryout or practice so that they can be evaluated by a health care professional.
Ban the athlete from play until given medical clearance — Coaches must wait until a doctor approves before allowing an athlete who has suffered a concussion to return to the field.
Who is covered by the new anti-concussion law?
The new anti-concussion law applies to a wide range of schools and institutions including public schools, private schools, charter schools and public recreation facilities. However, the provisions for recreation facilities are much looser — the law only encourages these facilities to remove athletes who have suffered concussions from the field, but does not require them to do so.
Who is responsible for concussion-law violations?
Examples of parties who may be liable for concussion-related injuries include schools or public recreation facilities that fail to warn parents of concussion risks, coaches who fail to remove injured athletes from the field and doctors who fail to properly treat or diagnose injured athletes.