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Concussions in Youth Athletes

Fifty (50) states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws which address concussions and protect the health and safety of young athletes. Little League Baseball, Incorporated (LLB) has compiled a summary of all currently existing state laws regarding concussions in youth athletics.

Some laws are only applicable to school-sponsored athletics or to activities taking place on school-owned property. Some laws are applicable to all youth sports organizations, whether affiliated or not with a school district. It is strongly recommended that local leagues consult with legal counsel in its jurisdiction to determine the applicability, if any, of state laws to its program regarding concussions.

In keeping with its focus on protecting the health, safety and welfare of children, LLB requires all leagues and teams to comply with all applicable laws and recommends the review of the information and training materials on concussions which are available free of charge on the Centers For Disease Control website at cdc.gov/headsup/.

State of Michigan Concussion Laws

The Michigan law is found in Chapter 333 of the Michigan Compiled Laws at Sections 9155 and 9156 dealing with public health.

Section 9155 requires the Department of Health to establish, adopt and approve a concussion awareness training program that addresses the nature and risk of concussions, guidelines for removal of an athlete from participation and return to the activity, and the risks of an athlete not reporting a suspected concussion and continuing participation in the activity.  The statute defines a youth athlete as an individual who participates in athletic activity and who is under 18 years of age.  “Athletic activity” means a program or event, including practice and competition, during which youth athletes participate or practice in an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club, entity or individual and includes participation in physical education classes that are a part of a school curriculum.  An organizing entity includes a school, recreation department or commission, a public or private entity and a nonprofit or for-profit entity.

Section 9156 provides that prior to allowing participation by a youth athlete in an athletic activity sponsored by or operated by an organizing entity, an organizing entity shall comply with all requirements of Section 9156, which requires that coaches, employees and volunteers undergo concussion awareness training, provide concussion education materials to each youth athlete, and obtain a statement signed by each youth athlete and parent/guardian acknowledging receipt of concussion information.  Such signed statement shall be maintained in a permanent file or until the youth athlete is 18 years of age.  The educational and training materials developed by the Department of Health shall be made available to any interested individual including school personnel, coaches, parents, students, and athletes.  A coach or other adult volunteering or employed by an organizing entity shall immediately remove a youth athlete from participation who is suspected of sustaining a concussion and the youth athlete shall not return to play unless written clearance has been received from an appropriate health care provider authorizing return to participation.  The organizing entity shall maintain written clearances authorizing return to play in a permanent file or until the youth athlete is 18 years of age.  The law does not apply if the organizing entity is a member of private non-profit multisport statewide interscholastic athletic associate and the athletic activity is governed by protocols that are substantially similar or more stringent than the Michigan law, if the entity is a governed by a rule established by a interscholastic athletic association with substantially similar concussion protocols, and if the primary focus of the program is not participation in an organized game or competition but that participation is incidental to the focus of the program. Section 9156 requires participation in concussion awareness programs every 3 years by coaches, employees, volunteers and others unless recommended otherwise by the department.

The laws at 333.9155 and 333.9156 of the Michigan Compiled Laws can be viewed online at:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(hve5yz454qkzzaefkpnjsizp))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-333-9155&query=on&highlight=concussion

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(hve5yz454qkzzaefkpnjsizp))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-333-9156&query=on&highlight=concussion

The following website offers additional information regarding Michigan concussion law:

http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,4612,7-132-54783_63943—,00.html

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