Managing Concussions in Student Athletes: The Safety in Youth Sports Act
The Pennsylvania General Assembly, in 2012, passed the Safety in Youth Sports Act to help prevent the growing number of concussions and severe brain injuries among student athletes.
Because coaches are often times the first line of defense in recognizing a concussion, the law offers concussion safety tips and guidelines for managing these injuries. It also sets clear treatment standards student athletes must follow before returning to play.
A Combined Effort in Preventing and Managing Concussions
The Safety in Youth Sports Act — combined with the efforts of players, parents, coaches, and health professionals — looks to prevent serious head injuries and raise awareness of how to deal with concussions.
The law requires that coaches must promptly remove any student athlete suspected of a concussion from the game.
The athlete cannot return to play until cleared in writing by a health professional trained in diagnosing and managing concussions.
For those who do not follow these safety standards, the law sets the following penalties:
- First offense = suspension from coaching any athletic activity for the remainder of the season.
- Second offense = suspension from coaching for the remainder of the season, as well as the next season.
- Third offense = permanent ban for life from any coaching activity.
Knowledge is Power
Concussion and traumatic brain injury education is another aspect of the law.
It urges schools to hold informational meetings prior to the start of each athletic season, to discuss:
Learn More About the Safety in Youth Sports Act
Visit the UPMC HealthBeat blog where Erin Reynolds, PsyD, a clinical neuropsychologist at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, discusses the specifics of the act:
From the Pennsylvania General Assembly: