SD a Signature Away & IL Makes Changes


We highlighted, a while back, South Dakota pushing a bill through the state legislature, but as of today it only needs the Governor’s signature.  It is not without some questions, like the Illinois bill.

Senate Bill 149, also known as concussion legislation, is now on its way to the Governor’s desk for his signature. But those who support the bill say there’s still more to be done.

Kelli Grant of Keloland.com discussed the “shortfalls” with the bill, granted this move is a great start.  The main issue, just like Illinois is that the proposed bill only INCLUDES high school athletes sanctioned by the state association.  There is no mechanism for sports that are “club” or for those kids younger than high school age.

I was interviewed yesterday by a local TV station (WAND), about the bill in Illinois and how it can help the young athletes, and I made the same point that the article from South Dakota was making.  It is a great start, for both SD and IL, but if lawmakers are truly concerned for the safety of youth athletes more should be done.

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Specifically speaking on Illinois, the State House did amend the bill that was introduced, it now uses exact language making the Illinois High School Association the lead on the information to be disseminated, and regulations to follow.  It took out the language specific to the schools developing their own information and policies.  Each school board must adopt the IHSA’s protocol, policies and by-laws.

Requires each school board to adopt a policy regarding student athlete concussions and head injuries that is in compliance with the protocols, policies, and by-laws of the Illinois High School Association. Provides that information on the school board’s concussion and head injury policy must be a part of any agreement, contract, code, or other written instrument that a school district requires a student athlete and his or her parents or guardian to sign before participating in practice or interscholastic competition. Requires the Illinois High School Association to make available to all school districts education materials that describe the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries. Requires each school district to use education materials provided by the Illinois High School Association to educate coaches, student athletes, and parents and guardians of student athletes about the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries, including continuing play after a concussion or head injury.

What was removed was the language about “health care provider”; according to my sources the IHSA is going to either re-adopt the general language with more emphasis on physician’s or could even go a step further and include athletic trainer’s, advance practice nurses, and physicians assistant’s.  As it stands now the IHSA follows the NFHS guidelines requiring a physician;s (MD/DO) written clearance, and no athlete suspected of a head injury can return to action on the same day.

At least that issue, this author had with the original bill, is being addressed.  Perhaps the Senate will find a way to include the other non-IHSA sanctioned sports, lower levels (junior high/elementary, IESA), club sports and entities like the Junior Football League.

My pressing question is; why can ‘we’ not get it right from the start?  There does not have to be incurred costs to the already strapped schools and at the same time protect ALL adolescent athletes.

As it reads now, if an athlete in high school plays IHSA volleyball (for example) and gets a concussion they cannot return to play unless they get written clearance from a physician.  HOWEVER, that same athlete can get a concussion in club volleyball, mere weeks later, and not have the same protection/mechanism.

How about the 8th grader in JFL, who gets a concussion then one year later in freshman football he has to sit until the physician clears him.  We should all know that the younger the individual the greater the risks; both in lingering symptoms and with complications such as Second Impact Syndrome.

Because this is the state where I live and practice, I will be keeping a keen eye on this matter.  Once again I will throw it out there; I am only an email away, ha!

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