The Illinois State Legislature has been working on the concussion bill since January, it has been held up along the way for a couple of amendments but has been sitting on the Governors desk since June 3rd (LINK). Word is that the Governor is set to sign the bill today at a ceremony in Solider Field (the 30th total according to our records) putting into motion, what I have been trying to tell any school in Illinois that would listen, the requirements for concussions at the high school level.
This bill has remained relatively unchanged since I first posted about it in February; there are two Amendments that you can see in the first link. In quick synopsis this bill/law will;
- Require parents/athletes to sign an informed consent (produced by the IHSA)
- Require schools to follow the concussion guidelines put forth by the Illinois High School Association
- Require Park Districts to post and educate about concussions, including signs and symptoms (for youth sports)
The timing of this could be an issue for some schools that have not addressed this issue, as fall sports begin August 10th, a mere two weeks out. The IHSA has been on top of this and should provide some good guidance and assistance for the schools, but regardless each school will be held to these standards when practice begins.
Is it enough? As a practicing athletic trainer in Illinois, I say it is a great start, and one that should not cost schools money (other than copying costs), and it includes specific language for athletic trainers in the mechanism of concussion management. I must say the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association has worked hard on this and deserve a lot of credit, I know of one person in particular that was instrumental to this process, Eric Streeter. Great job man!
We will see how this is handled as compared to last year on the field of play, but I for one think it should not affect how we do things at our school. It would be wise that schools take this process further and talk with medical professionals in their area to strengthen a good base of standards.