Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 20

    February Session, 2016

House Bill No. 5141

House of Representatives, March 10, 2016

The Committee on Children reported through REP. URBAN of the 43rd Dist., Chairperson of the Committee on the part of the House, that the bill ought to pass.

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

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

Section 1. Section 21a-432 of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(a) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Youth athletic activity" means an organized athletic activity involving participants of not less than [seven] five years of age and not more than nineteen years of age, who (A) (i) 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, or (ii) attend an organized athletic camp or clinic the purpose of which is to train, instruct or prepare such participants to engage in an organized athletic game or competition, and (B) (i) pay a fee to participate in such organized athletic game or competition or attend such camp or clinic, or (ii) whose cost to participate in such athletic game or competition or attend such camp or clinic is sponsored by a municipality, business or nonprofit organization. "Youth athletic activity" does not include any college or university athletic activity, or an athletic activity that is incidental to a nonathletic program or lesson; [and]

(2) "Operator" means any municipality, business or nonprofit organization that conducts, coordinates, organizes or otherwise oversees any youth athletic activity but shall not include any municipality, business or nonprofit organization solely providing access to, or use of, any field, court or other recreational area, whether for compensation or not; [.] and

(3) "Public athletic field" means any state-operated or municipally-operated field or open space used for sporting or sporting-related activities.

(b) Not later than January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, each operator of a youth athletic activity shall make available a written or electronic statement regarding concussions to each youth athlete and a parent or legal guardian of each youth athlete participating in the youth athletic activity. Such written or electronic statement shall be made available upon registration of each youth athlete and shall be consistent with the most recent information provided by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding concussions. Such written or electronic statement shall include educational content addressing, at a minimum: (1) The recognition of signs or symptoms of a concussion, (2) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of sustaining a concussion, (3) the nature and risks of concussions, including the danger of continuing to engage in youth athletic activity after sustaining a concussion, and (4) the proper procedures for allowing a youth athlete who has sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity.

(c) On and after January 1, 2017, no operator shall conduct any youth athletic activity on a public athletic field unless (1) within the previous twenty-four months, each coach of such youth athletic activity has completed (A) a training course regarding concussions developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b, as amended by this act, or (B) a refresher course regarding concussions, developed or approved pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of section 10-149b, as amended by this act; (2) a parent or legal guardian of each child participating in such youth athletic activity (A) has read written materials, (B) viewed online training or videos, or (C) attended in-person training regarding the concussion education plan developed or approved pursuant to subsection (c) of section 10-149b, as amended by this act; and (3) such operator has (A) distributed to a parent or legal guardian of each child participating in such youth athletic activity an informed consent form that is substantially similar to the informed consent form developed or approved pursuant to subsection (e) of section 10-149b, as amended by this act, and (B) obtained such parent's or legal guardian's signature, attesting to the fact that such parent or legal guardian (i) has received a copy of such informed consent form, and (ii) authorizes the child to participate in the youth athletic activity.

[(c)] (d) No operator, or designee of such operator, nor the state or any municipality operating a public athletic field, shall be subject to civil liability for failing to (1) make available the written or electronic statement regarding concussions pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, or (2) distribute or obtain the informed consent form pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 10-149b of the 2016 supplement to the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2016):

(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, 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, 2014, and each school year 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, 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] two 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] two years as a condition of the reissuance of a coaching permit to such coach.

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

(2) On or before October 1, 2014, and annually thereafter, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health and the organizations described in subparagraphs (B) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall develop or approve annual review materials regarding current and relevant information about concussions.

(3) The State Board of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health and the organizations described in subparagraphs (B) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of this subsection, shall develop or approve a refresher course regarding concussions. 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, prevention and treatment, (C) an update on new relevant federal, state and local laws and regulations, and (D) for football coaches, current best practices regarding coaching the sport of football, including, but not limited to, frequency of games and full contact practices and scrimmages as identified by the governing authority for intramural and interscholastic athletics.

(c) On or before January 1, 2015, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health and the organizations described in subparagraphs (B) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall develop or approve a concussion education plan for use by local and regional boards of education and operators of youth athletic activities, as defined in section 21a-432, as amended by this act. Each local and regional board of education shall implement such plan by utilizing written materials, online training or videos or in-person training that shall address, at a minimum: (1) The recognition of signs or symptoms of concussion, (2) the means of obtaining proper medical treatment for a person suspected of sustaining a concussion, (3) the nature and risks of concussions, including the danger of continuing to engage in athletic activity after sustaining a concussion, (4) the proper procedures for allowing a student athlete who has sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity, and (5) current best practices in the prevention and treatment of a concussion.

(d) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, each local and regional 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, (1) reads written materials, (2) views online training or videos, or (3) attends in-person training regarding the concussion education plan developed or approved pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(e) (1) On or before July 1, 2015, the State Board of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Public Health and the organizations described in subparagraphs (B) to (D), inclusive, of subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of this section, shall develop or 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. Such informed consent form shall include, at a minimum, (A) a summary of the concussion education plan developed or approved pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, and (B) a summary of the applicable local or regional board of education's policies regarding concussions.

(2) For the school year commencing July 1, 2015, and each school year thereafter, each school shall provide each participating student athlete's parent or legal guardian with a copy of the informed consent form developed or approved pursuant to 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.

(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.

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

Section 1

October 1, 2016

21a-432

Sec. 2

October 1, 2016

10-149b

KID

Joint Favorable

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact: None

Municipal Impact:

Municipalities

Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Various Municipalities

STATE MANDATE - Potential Cost

Minimal

Minimal

Various Municipalities

Savings

Potential

Potential

Explanation

The bill could result in a potential cost to various municipalities, anticipated to be less than $1,000, associated with broadening the definition of youth athletic activities, and including five and six-year-olds to the concussion statement requirement.

Depending on how a municipality chooses to handle the broadened requirement and additional concussion statements, will alter the potential costs incurred by those municipalities. Municipalities may incur costs as follows: 1) a municipality that provides such information electronically would not incur any costs; 2) a municipality that provides the information in person, upon registration would incur minimal printing costs; 3) a municipality that chooses to print and mail concussion-related information would likely incur costs of less than $1,000.

The bill increases how frequently intramural and interscholastic athletic coaches must complete a concussion refresher course. It is not clear who would be responsible for paying for the training course. If individual coaches assumed the cost of the additional training, there would be no additional cost to municipalities. However, if individual coaches did not assume the additional cost, there would be an increased cost to municipalities associated with the additional training, which could be incorporated into the annual professional development schedule for coaches. It is anticipated that incorporating head injury and concussion training into the annual professional development schedule would result in a minimal cost associated with the need to hire additional trainers at a cost of approximately $75 - $100 per hour.

The bill also precludes, in certain circumstances, operators and their designees, the state, and any municipality operating a public athletic field, immunity from civil liability. Municipalities that are currently liable in these situations may experience a savings to the extent that it reduces the number of lawsuits such municipalities are party to.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation.

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:

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:

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)

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