Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5113

February Session, 2014

 

LCO No. 1012

 

*01012_______KID*

Referred to Committee on COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN

 

Introduced by:

 

(KID)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING YOUTH ATHLETICS AND CONCUSSIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-149b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2014):

(a) (1) For the school year commencing July 1, 2010, and each school year thereafter, any person who holds or is issued a coaching permit by the State Board of Education and is a coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics shall complete an initial training course regarding concussions and [head] other brain injuries, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, prior to commencing the coaching assignment for the season of such school athletics.

(2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2011, and each school year thereafter, [and after completion of] any coach who has completed the initial training course described in subdivision (1) of this subsection [, such coach] shall annually review current and relevant information regarding concussions and [head] other brain injuries, prepared or approved pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section, prior to commencing the coaching assignment for the season of such school athletics. Such annual review shall not be required in any year when such coach is required to complete the refresher course, pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection, for reissuance of his or her coaching permit.

(3) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, a coach shall complete a refresher course, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of this section, not later than five years after completion of the initial training course, as a condition of the reissuance of a coaching permit to such coach. Such coach shall thereafter retake such refresher course at least once every five years as a condition of the reissuance of a coaching permit to such coach.

(b) (1) [On or before July 1, 2010, the] The State Board of Education, in consultation with (A) the Commissioner of Public Health, (B) the governing authority for intramural and interscholastic athletics, [(B)] (C) an appropriate organization representing licensed athletic trainers, and [(C)] (D) an organization representing county medical associations, shall develop or approve a training course regarding concussions and [head] other brain injuries. Such training course shall include, but not be limited to, (i) the recognition of the symptoms of a concussion or [head] other brain injury, (ii) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of having a concussion or [head] other brain injury, and (iii) the nature and risk of concussions and [head] other brain injuries, including the danger of continuing to [play] engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion or [head] other brain injury and the proper method of allowing a student athlete who has sustained a concussion or [head] other brain injury to return to athletic activity.

(2) On or before July 1, [2011] 2014, and annually thereafter, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the organizations described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall [prepare] develop or approve annual review materials regarding current and relevant information about concussions and [head] other brain injuries.

(3) [On or before January 1, 2014, the] The State Board of Education, in consultation with the organizations described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall develop or approve a refresher course regarding concussions and [head] other brain injuries. Such refresher course shall include, but not be limited to, (A) an overview of key recognition and safety practices, (B) an update on medical developments and current best practices in the field of concussion research, [and] prevention and treatment, and (C) an update on new relevant federal, state and local laws and regulations.

(c) On or before January 1, 2015, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the organizations described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall develop and implement a concussion and other brain injury education plan. Such plan may utilize written materials and online training and videos and shall include educational content addressing, at a minimum: (1) The recognition of signs or symptoms of concussion or other brain injury, (2) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of sustaining a concussion or other brain injury, (3) the nature and risks of concussions and other brain injuries, including the danger of continuing to engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion or other brain injury, (4) the proper procedures for allowing a student athlete who has sustained a concussion or other brain injury to return to athletic activity, and (5) current best practices in the prevention and treatment of concussions and other brain injuries.

(d) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, the State Board of Education shall prohibit a student athlete from participating in any intramural or interscholastic athletic activity unless the student athlete, and a parent or guardian of such student athlete, completes the concussion and other brain injury education plan developed and implemented pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(e) (1) On or before July 1, 2015, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the organizations described in subparagraphs (A) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall develop and approve an informed consent form to distribute to the parents and legal guardians of student athletes involved in intramural or interscholastic athletic activities regarding concussions and other brain injuries. Such informed consent form shall include, at a minimum, (A) a summary of the concussion and other brain injury education plan described in subsection (c) of this section, and (B) a summary of the applicable local or regional board of education's policies regarding concussions and other brain injuries.

(2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, any person who holds or is issued a coaching permit by the State Board of Education and is a coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics shall, prior to commencing the coaching assignment for the season of such school athletics, provide each participating student athlete's parent or legal guardian with a copy of the informed consent form described in subdivision (1) of this subsection and obtain such parent's or legal guardian's signature, attesting to the fact that such parent or legal guardian has received a copy of such form and authorizes the student athlete to participate in the athletic activity.

[(c)] (f) The State Board of Education may revoke the coaching permit, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b, of any coach found to be in violation of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 10-149c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2014):

(a) (1) The coach of any intramural or interscholastic athletics shall immediately remove a student athlete from participating in any intramural or interscholastic athletic activity who (A) is observed to exhibit signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body, or (B) is diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury, regardless of when such concussion or [head] other brain injury may have occurred. Not later than twenty-four hours after such removal the coach shall inform the student athlete's parent or legal guardian that the student athlete has exhibited such signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury or has been diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury.

(2) The coach shall not permit such student athlete to participate in any supervised [team] athletic activities involving physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions, until (A) at least twenty-four hours have elapsed since such student athlete has exhibited signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury or has been diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury, and (B) such student athlete receives written clearance to participate in such supervised [team] athletic activities involving physical exertion from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.

(3) Following clearance pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, the coach shall not permit such student athlete to participate in any full, unrestricted supervised [team] athletic activities without limitations on contact or physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions, until such student athlete (A) no longer exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury at rest or with exertion, [and] (B) receives written clearance to participate in such full, unrestricted supervised [team] athletic activities from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, and (C) provides to the coach an informed consent form, prescribed by the State Board of Education and signed by the student athlete's parent or legal guardian, attesting that such parent or legal guardian authorizes the student athlete to participate in the athletic activity.

(b) The State Board of Education may revoke the coaching permit, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b, of any coach found to be in violation of this section.

(c) For purposes of this section, "licensed health care professional" means a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370, a physician assistant licensed pursuant to chapter 370, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378 or an athletic trainer licensed pursuant to chapter 375a.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, no person who holds or issued a coaching permit by the State Board of Education and is a coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, full contact practice for more than ninety minutes per week. For purposes of this section, "full contact" means any drill, scrimmage or live game simulation that includes activities that may include, but not be limited to, student athletes tackling, striking or colliding with one another at full speed.

(b) The State Board of Education may revoke the coaching permit, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (i) of section 10-145b of the general statutes, of any coach found to be in violation of subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Youth athletic activity" means an organized athletic activity involving participants of not less than seven years of age and not more than nineteen years of age, who (A) engage in an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club or entity or in practice or preparation for an organized game or competition against another team, club or entity, and (B) pay a fee to participate in such organized athletic game or competition or whose cost to participate in such athletic game or competition is sponsored by a municipality, business or nonprofit organization. "Youth athletic activity" does not include any college or university athletic activity, an athletic activity entered into for instructional purposes only or an athletic activity that is incidental to a nonathletic program or a lesson;

(2) "Operator" means any municipality, business or nonprofit organization that conducts, coordinates, organizes or otherwise oversees any youth athletic activity; and

(3) "Coach" means any person who volunteers or is paid to act as a head coach, manager or instructor, or in a similar supervisory position, for participants engaged in youth athletic activity.

(b) Not later than January 1, 2015, and annually thereafter, each operator of a youth athletic activity shall:

(1) Provide a written statement to each youth athlete, parent or legal guardian of such youth athlete and referee, as defined in section 5 of this act, participating in the youth athletic activity regarding concussions and other brain injuries. Such written statement shall include educational content addressing, at a minimum: (A) The recognition of signs or symptoms of a concussion or other brain injury, (B) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of sustaining a concussion or other brain injury, (C) the nature and risks of concussions and other brain injuries, including the danger of continuing to engage in youth athletic activity after sustaining a concussion or other brain injury, and (D) the proper procedures of allowing an athlete who has sustained a concussion or other brain injury to return to athletic activity; and

(2) Require that the youth athlete's parent or legal guardian and each referee sign and return such written statement to such operator prior to such youth athlete or referee engaging in any youth athletic activity.

(c) (1) Not later than January 1, 2015, and annually thereafter, any person who is a coach of a youth athletic activity shall complete an initial training course regarding concussions and other brain injuries, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b of the general statutes, as amended by this act, prior to commencing the coaching assignment for the youth athletic activity.

(2) Not later than January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, any coach who has completed the initial training course described in subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall annually review current and relevant information regarding concussions and other brain injuries, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b of the general statutes, as amended by this act, prior to commencing the coaching assignment for such youth athletic activity.

(d) No operator or coach of a youth athletic activity shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, full contact practice for more than ninety minutes per week. For purposes of this section, "full contact" means any drill, scrimmage or live game simulation that includes activities that may include, but not be limited to, youth athletes tackling, striking or colliding with one another at full speed.

(e) The operator or coach of a youth athletic activity shall immediately remove a youth athlete from participating in any youth athletic activity who (A) is observed to exhibit signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body, or (B) is diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury, regardless of when such concussion or other brain injury may have occurred. Not later than twenty-four hours after such removal, the operator or coach of a youth athletic activity shall inform the youth athlete's parent or legal guardian that the youth athlete has exhibited such signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury or has been diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury.

(f) No operator or coach of a youth athletic activity shall permit a youth athlete to participate in any supervised athletic activities involving physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions, until (1) at least twenty-four hours have elapsed since such youth athlete has exhibited signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury or has been diagnosed with a concussion or other brain injury, and (2) such youth athlete receives written clearance to participate in such supervised athletic activities involving physical exertion from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.

(g) Following clearance pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, no operator or coach of a youth athletic activity shall permit such youth athlete to participate in any full, unrestricted supervised athletic activities without limitations on contact or physical exertion, including, but not limited to, practices, games or competitions, until such youth athlete (1) no longer exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion or other brain injury at rest or with exertion, (2) receives written clearance to participate in such full, unrestricted supervised athletic activities from a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, and (3) provides an informed consent form, prescribed by the operator and signed by the youth athlete's parent or legal guardian, to the operator attesting that such parent or legal guardian authorizes the youth athlete to participate in the youth athletic activity.

(h) Any individual aggrieved by a violation of subsections (a) to (g), inclusive, of this section may request the Attorney General to investigate such violation. If the Attorney General finds that an operator or coach of a youth athletic activity has knowingly violated or is knowingly violating any provision of said subsections, the Attorney General may bring a civil action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford under this section in the name of the state against such operator or coach.

(i) For purposes of this section, "licensed health care professional" means a physician licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes, a physician assistant licensed pursuant to chapter 370 of the general statutes, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed pursuant to chapter 378 of the general statutes or an athletic trainer licensed pursuant to chapter 375a of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) (1) For purposes of this section and section 4 of this act, "referee" means a person who volunteers or is paid to act as a referee, official, umpire or judge, or in a similar supervisory position, for events involving intramural or interscholastic athletics or youth athletic activity.

(2) Not later than January 1, 2015, and annually thereafter, any person who is a referee of intramural or interscholastic athletics or a youth athletic activity, as defined in section 4 of this act, shall complete an initial training course regarding concussions and other brain injuries, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b of the general statutes, as amended by this act, prior to commencing the refereeing assignment for the intramural or interscholastic athletics or youth athletic activity.

(3) Not later than January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, any referee that has completed the initial training course described in subdivision (2) of this subsection, shall annually review current and relevant information regarding concussions and other brain injuries, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b of the general statutes, as amended by this act, prior to commencing the refereeing assignment for such intramural or interscholastic athletics or youth athletics activity.

(b) The State Board of Education may prohibit any referee of intramural or interscholastic athletics who is found to be in violation of subdivision (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of this section from refereeing any intramural or interscholastic athletics.

(c) An operator, as defined in subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 4 of this act, of a youth athletic activity may prohibit any referee of a youth athletic activity who is found to be in violation of subdivision (2) or (3) of subsection (a) of this section from refereeing any youth athletic activity.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2014) (a) For the school year commencing July 1, 2014, the State Board of Education shall require all local and regional school districts to collect and report all occurrences of concussions and other brain injuries to the board not less than twice each school year. Each report shall contain, if known: (1) The nature and extent of the concussion or other brain injury, and (2) the circumstances in which the student sustained the concussion or other brain injury.

(b) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, the State Board of Education shall send a concussion and other brain injury report to the Department of Public Health containing all of the information received pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Not later than October 1, 2015, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Public Health shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children and public health on the findings of the concussion and brain injury report provided to the department pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2014

10-149b

Sec. 2

July 1, 2014

10-149c

Sec. 3

July 1, 2014

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2014

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2014

New section

Sec. 6

July 1, 2014

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To reduce the number of concussions in children by: (1) Requiring the State Board of Education to develop or approve a concussion education plan, (2) requiring the operators of youth athletic activities to provide information on concussions to youth athletes and their parents and guardians, (3) requiring youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion to provide written clearance from a medical professional prior to returning to the athletic activity, (4) limiting full contact practices to ninety minutes per week, and (5) requiring local and regional boards of education to compile and report all instances of concussions suffered by children in school.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]