OLR Bill Analysis

HB 5141

AN ACT CONCERNING CONCUSSIONS AND YOUTH ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED ON PUBLIC ATHLETIC FIELDS.

SUMMARY:

By law, youth athletic activity operators must make available a written or electronic statement about concussions to each participant and his or her parent or guardian. This bill broadens the definition of youth athletic activities, which, under current law, includes certain organized athletic activities involving participants age seven to 19. The bill adds such activities involving five- and six-year-old participants and in doing so, extends the concussion statement requirement to operators of youth athletic activities involving these younger participants.

Starting January 1, 2017, the bill also prohibits operators from conducting youth athletic activities on a public athletic field (i.e., a state- or municipally-operated field or open space used for sporting or sporting related activities) unless:

1. within the prior 24 months, each activity coach completed a concussion training or refresher course developed by the State Board of Education (SBE);

2. a parent or legal guardian of each participant has read written material, viewed online training or videos, or attended in-person training on a concussion education plan developed or approved by SBE; and

3. the operator has (a) distributed to each participant's parent or legal guardian an informed consent form developed or approved by SBE and (b) obtained the parent's or guardian's signature attesting that he or she received the form and authorizes the child to participate in the activity.

By law, an operator is a municipality, business, or nonprofit organization that conducts, coordinates, organizes, or otherwise oversees any youth athletic activity but does not include any municipality, business, or nonprofit organization that solely provides access to, or use of, any field, court, or other recreational area.

The bill also provides immunity from civil liability in certain circumstances to operators and their designees, the state, and any municipality operating a public athletic field.

Additionally, the bill increases how frequently intramural and interscholastic athletic coaches must complete a concussion refresher course, from within five years of completing the initial required training and every five years after that, to within two years of completing the initial training and biennially after that. By law, taking the refresher course is a condition of maintaining a coaching permit.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

YOUTH ATHLETIC ACTIVITY

Current law defines “youth athletic activity” as an organized athletic activity involving participants between ages seven and 19 who:

1. engage in an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club, or entity or practice or prepare for an organized game or competition against another team, club, or entity; and

2. pay a fee to participate or participate for free and a municipality, business, or nonprofit organization sponsors their participation cost.

The bill broadens the definition to include such activities involving five and six-year-old participants.

Under the law and bill, such activities do not include any college or university athletic activity, or an athletic activity incidental to a nonathletic program or lesson.

IMMUNITY FROM CIVIL LIABILITY

Current law provides immunity to operators and their designees who fail to make available to youth athletes and parents or guardians a written or electronic statement about concussions. The bill expands this immunity to include immunity from civil liability if the operator fails to distribute or obtain the informed consent form required under the bill.

The bill also extends this immunity to the state and any municipality operating a public athletic field (some of these municipalities are already covered under the definition of operator).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Committee on Children

Joint Favorable

Yea

7

Nay

4

(02/25/2016)