SAFETY AND YOUTH SPORTS ACT:
Rules Applicable to Student Athlete Head Injuries
Pennsylvania Governor Corbett has signed into law SB 200, which is now Act 101 and effective July 1, 2012. This law prescribes rules applicable to schools and designed to protect student athletes who suffer head injuries.
Once each year, team coaches are required to complete a concussion management certification training course offered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Federation of State High School Associations, or another provider approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Starting July 1, 2012, individuals may not coach a school athletic activity until they have completed such a training course.
The law directs the Department of Education and Department of Health to post on their websites guidelines to inform students, parents, and coaches about injury risks, including particularly the risks associated with continuing to play after a head injury.
The law suggests that schools hold information meetings prior to the start of each athletic season to address this topic.
Very importantly, if a student is determined by a game official, coach, certified athletic trainer, licensed physician, licensed physical therapist, or other official designated by the school entity, to exhibit signs of concussion or traumatic brain injury while participating in an athletic activity, the law mandates that the coach immediately remove the student from participation. The law directs that the coach shall not return a student to participation until the student is cleared for return in writing by an appropriate medical professional.
The school board may designate a specific person or persons to provide this written clearance. “Appropriate medical professional” is defined to include: (1) A licensed physician trained in evaluation and management of concussions or a licensed or certified health care professional trained in evaluation and management of concussions and designated by such licensed physician. (2) A licensed psychologist neuropsychologically trained in evaluation and management of concussions or who has post-doctoral training in neuropsychology and specific training in evaluation and management of concussions.
School districts should start the steps necessary to develop a policy and implement these important new requirements.
We hope you find this issue of KKAG’s Education Law Watch helpful and informative. Please understand that the Law Watch is designed to provide information about current developments and required actions. It does not constitute legal advice, and school districts should consult a lawyer knowledgeable in this area of the law prior to taking specific actions on the issues addressed.
If you have any questions regarding any education law matter, including the issues discussed in this newsletter, please do not hesitate to contact us as 717/392-1100, or email us at the following addresses:
KEGEL KELIN ALMY & GRIMM LLP
Education Law Group
Clarence C. Kegel, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
Howard L. Kelin email@example.com
Jeffrey D. Litts firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhonda F. Lord email@example.com
Amy G. Macinanti firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise E. Elliott email@example.com
Jason T. Confair firstname.lastname@example.org
Kegel Kelin Almy & Grimm LLP is a regional law firm with offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. KKAG is solicitor and general counsel to 17 school districts and joint school systems – and bond counsel, finance counsel, or special joint counsel to many others in Central and Eastern Pennsylvania. In addition, KKAG frequently serves Pennsylvania school districts for unusual and challenging problems, projects, or litigation.