Return-To-Play Concussion Legislation in American States

I woke up yesterday morning and the sun was shining, the earth still turned………

In the grand scheme of things, the event that occurred on Friday was minor, so all was to be expected with the world at large.  But in my little corner of the world—the world of youth sports medicine in Ohio—things may be changing considerably, and soon.

Friday, April 26 marked the day that Ohio House Bill 143, Ohio’s “Return-To-Play” legislation that addresses how youth sports concussions are managed, went into effect.  And some people predict a flood of sorts is coming.

As many American readers of this blog might know, the legislators of Washington State signed into law the “Zachary Lystedt Law” in 2009.  This law, the first of its type, has become a model for other states to follow.  The legislation came into being in response to an event which occurred in 2006, when a middle-school student-athlete named Zachary Lystedt sustained a severe head injury while playing American Gridiron football.  The injury was found to be due, at least in part, to a concussion the young man had sustained earlier in the same game.  His injuries were catastrophic: Lystedt did not die, but he will be disabled the remainder of his life.

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In 2011, Minnesota Governor signing his state’s concussion bill into law.

The Washington State law contained several provisions addressing issues of education and informed consent, but its centerpiece is a requirement that any athlete playing at any level of youth sport who is suspected of having a concussion cannot return to play without an evaluation by a health care professional and a written, signed statement releasing the individual back to his/her sport.  Over the subsequent four years, 42 states, and the District of Columbia, have established similar laws.

Effective Friday, Ohio has become the 43rd state with such a law in place. Read more of this post

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