Public Health Committee


Bill No.:




Vote Date:


Vote Action:

JFS To The Floor

PH Date:


File No.:


The Public Health Committee


To establish a two-year pilot program to monitor incidents of injuries to high school students during participation in interscholastic athletic activities and to establish a task force to study such injuries and make recommendations to decrease the number of such injuries.


Dr. Jewel Mullen, Commissioner, The Department of Public Health (DPH): The intent of this bill is for DPH to establish a two-year pilot program to monitor injuries resulting from interscholastic athletic activities and make recommendations to reduce the number of injuries. The bill also proposes that the department accept funds to make grants available to 20 high schools for the purpose of monitoring and reporting all related injuries. Lastly, the bill states that DPH is part of an existing task force that would review the injury data collected by the 20 high schools and make recommendations to decrease the incidence of such injuries.

Section 19a-4i of the Connecticut General Statutes established an Office of Injury Prevention within the Department of Public Health in 1993. The purpose of this office was to coordinate and expand prevention and control activities related to intentional and unintentional injuries, by collecting and analyzing data, establishing collaborations with other agencies to address injury statewide, supporting community-based injury initiatives, and developing sources of funding to establish and continue injury prevention programs. This program was staffed by two program coordinators and an epidemiologist to address intentional and unintentional injuries. In 2005, funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was awarded to DPH. During the five years grant period, the program collected and analyzed data to publish an injury data book, established and maintained a statewide Injury Community Planning Group that developed a comprehensive state injury prevention and control plan.

In 2010, DPH applied for the competitive CDC grant to maintain and expand injury activities by implementing the 2008 Connecticut Injury Prevention and Control Plan recommendations. DPH did not receive the funding and as of August 2010, the Office of Injury Prevention ceased to exist. DPH does not have resources to conduct a pilot program solely for the purpose of studying injury rates in school athletic programs. DPH can assist in providing support to statewide injury prevention initiatives that would address systems and environmental change to prevent injuries.


Karissa L. Niehoff, Executive Director, CAS-CIAC: It has been documented that more than 2 million sports related injuries occur at the high school level each year. It is estimated that up to 50% of these injuries may be preventable or at least have the long term consequences lessened if tracking and reporting occurred. In Connecticut, there is no available program to track injuries. The collection of data is critical; therefore physicians and those involved in these sports at a regulatory level cannot make decisions regarding interventions or rule changes to protect the health and safety of our student athletes in Connecticut. SB 966 is the first step toward protecting our athletes.

Carrie Graham, President, Connecticut Athletic Trainers Association (CATA): SB 966 is a pilot program developed to gather accurate information on the incidence of athletic injuries in Connecticut's high schools. Currently, Connecticut does not have this crucial information, nor is there a program in place to gather this information.

Research shows the majority of high school athletic injuries occur during athletic team practices. The National Athletic Trainers Association recommends the use of emergency action plans as best practice, which includes the presence of a certified athletic trainer at athletic sporting events. Supporting the injury surveillance pilot program will provide DPH and other health agencies with vital information to develop preventative health care policies.

Vicky Graham, Second School Injury Surveillance Work Group: An estimated 30 million high school students participate in organized sports; approximately 7.6 million of them in high school sports. Despite the numerous benefits of participation in sports, there is a risk of injury associated with such activity.

There has been an increasing emphasis on athlete safety nationwide. While I am not advocating for a legislative fix for issues of athlete safety, this bill would allow those of us whose responsibility it is to insure the safety of student-athletes on a daily basis to study and identify areas of increased risk. By collecting and studying state-specific data, we will be able to recommend appropriate rule or equipment changes, identify points of emphasis for game officials or coaching techniques, and evaluate the current standard of medical care. SB 966 would allow DPH to accept private funding to assist with implementation of the pilot program.

Dr. Thomas H. Trojian, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Orthopaedic Surgery: A collaborative effort led to successful “return to play” concussion legislation (Public Act 10-62) but needs to be done and SB 966 is the appropriate next step by putting in place the entities to study and report on incidence of concussions and injuries in Connecticut at the high school levels. Information specific to injuries of high school student-athletes in Connecticut is not available and no program exists to track or provide surveillance of injuries. Due to the lack of a data collecting process, both physicians and those involved with sports at a regulatory level cannot make fully educated decisions regarding interventions or rule changes to protect the health and safety of our student-athletes in Connecticut.



Reported by: Lori Littmann

Date: 4/3/2013