California is generally known as being “cutting edge” for new technology and environmental awareness. However we are far behind the east coast in regards to the evaluation and management of suspected concussion in the adolescent athlete. Luckily Governor Brown recently signed legislation aimed at filling in some gaps. Below is a summary of recent concussion legislation that has passed:
California Concussion Laws
>>California AB 25
On October 4, 2011, California Assembly Bill 25 (AB25‐Hayashi) was signed into law which became effective on January 1, 2012. A summary of this bill is as follows:
(1) An athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in an athletic activity shall be immediately removed from the activity for the remainder of the day, and shall not be permitted to return to the activity until he or she is evaluated by a licensed health care provider, trained in the management of concussions, acting within the scope of his or her practice. The athlete shall not be permitted to return to the activity until he or she receives written clearance to return to the activity from that licensed health care provider. Any group that uses school facilities or grounds for supervised recreational activities must also comply with these requirements.
(2) On a yearly basis, a concussion and head injury information sheet shall be signed and returned by the athlete and the athlete’s parent or guardian before the athlete’s initiating practice or competition.
>> California AB 588
This recent legislation (Sept. 30) added private and charter schools to the already existing legislation that required public schools to implement a concussion management plan.
So as required by California law, virtually all athletic teams/leagues that use school district fields for practice or games are legally bound by these requirements.
Any league that has not currently implemented such a concussion management plan is in violation of California law. Unfortunately, many of the local athletic leagues are either unaware of this legal requirement or are unclear regarding how to implement and carry out such a systematic approach to concussion management.
As a concussion specialist, I am particularly invested in helping local leagues develop plans of action to minimize the risk of concussion through sport. This includes: 1) teaching coaches and their staff what to look for in the potentially concussed athlete, 2) developing a concussion policy for teams and leagues, and 3) helping to provide pre-injury baseline ImPACT testing as well as post-injury evaluations for athletes.
In this way, it is my goal to reduce the risk of concussions and related head injuries to the athletes that we care most about—our children.
Dr. Nash is a board certified pediatrician and Credentialed ImPACT Consultant practicing at 1-to-1 Pediatrics in Danville. He may be reached via phone: 925.362.1861, email: Info@1to1Pediatrics.com or web: www.1to1Pediatrics.com.
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