Add Kentucky to the List

Just before the second biggest day in the state this year (behind the UK/Louisville game) Kentucky becomes the 34th state (by our count) to enact some concussion legislation;

House Bill 281 is now law. Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill at Central High School in Louisville, a school rich in football history. The bill is designed to protect all student athletes in Kentucky who suffer a concussion.

It requires coaches, trainers and athletic directors to not only receive training on how to recognize a concussion but to also act in the best interest of the student’s health before allowing that student to play again.[…]

Neurologist Tad Seifert was at Central High for the signing. He says the second hit to a concussed head can be a life-changing blow, “speech, memory, motor skills, it would be very similar to somebody that’s had a devastating stroke” said Dr. Seifert.

It is worth noting that legislation is only a step in the process.  Having mandatory recognition for those involved with adolescent sports is a good beginning.  We all can do much more than the bare minimum, that being said, good job Kentucky.

11 thoughts on “Add Kentucky to the List

  1. Monica Steinborn May 1, 2012 / 11:41

    This particular bil found its way in the NATA Forums for Secondary Schools. The ATC that posted also posted the summary of the bill which states: The summary of it states and I took this directly from the forum:
    “Amend KRS 160.445 to require coaches to complete training on recognizing and treating concussions and head injuries; identify actions required before an athlete with a suspected concussion or head injury may return to play.”
    Reading the summary puts a whole new spin on the legislation. This shows are when a few words are added or taken out can affect a good thing. My interpretation of just the summary indicates that a coach might be able to make RTP.

  2. A Concerned Mom May 1, 2012 / 12:03

    I think it requires the athlete to be cleared by trained medical personnel (physician or licensed health care provider). Overall, my first impression was that the legislation was pretty good (doesn’t seem to include clubs/leagues though – that’s going to be the most difficult coverage to obtain in most states). (click on HB281 at link for actual text)

    “A student athlete suspected by an interscholastic coach, school athletic personnel, or contest official of sustaining a concussion during an athletic practice or competition shall be removed from play at that time and shall not return to play prior to the ending of the practice or competition until the athlete is evaluated to determine if a concussion has occurred. The evaluation shall be completed by a physician or a licensed health care provider whose scope of practice and training includes the evaluation and management of concussions and other brain injuries. A student athlete shall not return to play on the date of a suspected concussion absent the required evaluation.”

    “The injured student athlete shall not be allowed to participate in any subsequent practice or athletic competition unless written clearance from a physician is provided.”

    • A Concerned Mom May 1, 2012 / 12:09

      The following looks like another good provision (my guess is that there were some doctors and athletic trainers, perhaps supported by some parents, who worked on this bill).

      ” … require each school that participates in interscholastic athletics to develop a venue-specific emergency action plan to deal with serious injuries and acute medical conditions … “

      • Dustin Fink May 1, 2012 / 21:05

        This is required from any school that participates in accordance with CAATE accredited schools. Those universities/colleges that train athletic trainers… EAP’s should be at every school anyhow; who and how will the emergency medicine arrive and who is in charge of crowd control, etc…

      • A Concerned Mom May 1, 2012 / 21:29

        Not to belabor the issue, but do you think this language was just added to reflect what the schools were or should already be doing? Can parents assume that EAP’s exist for all interscholastic sports now?


  3. concussionsolutions May 2, 2012 / 10:44

    Concerned Mom,
    Parents should always be asking the question, “Who is taking care of my kids at practice and games when I’m not around?” If the answer to that is not, “A certified athletic trainer” then more questions should be asked as to why there isn’t someone qualified handling sports injuries in your specific are/school. To answer your question, yes, some places already had injury/concussion management plans in place. I’ve had it in my area since 2004. It’s not until the law passed in the summer of 2011 in Louisiana that it became a priority. And still in some areas around the state (most areas to be exact) there is a haphazard attempt at best being made to properly handle these injuries. It’s time consuming, costly, and quite frankly people still don’t want to grasp the concept. I can tell you that in the 30 high schools we provide athletic training services to, we educate our coaches during a luncheon each summer. There we discuss our EAP’s and every other aspect of athletic healthcare as it pertains to the safety of our kids and the liability of our school systems and their athletic staff. But to go one step further in answering your question, I would never ASSUME anything when it comes to athletic healthcare and safety of your children. In my area there is a lot of parental involvement so if the parents start barking about not having this or not having that then sometimes that’s what wakes the coaches and administration up and gets them moving in the right direction. Unfortunately that’s what it sometimes takes.

    Have you ever spoken about the federal legislation that is out there right now? H.R. 469 I believe it is. Seems like it’s just sitting out there and has a very unlikely chance to pass anytime soon. It looks like all it does is essentially require all states to have their own legislation in place (which will happen without this federal legislation going through).

    Do you think they all (state laws) should identify what physicians are “trained in concussion evaluation and management”? These laws are great, don’t get me wrong, but still don’t “solve” the problem. The problem we still face (like most others in my shoes I’m sure) is that these kids are still being cleared by MD’s, DO’s, NP’s, and the like that aren’t even CLOSE to being qualified to do so. This, along with the NFL stigma and the like, is sending a bad message to parents, coaches, and the community. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Let’s keep this conversation going.


    • A Concerned Mom May 2, 2012 / 11:54

      Thanks for your response. I agree, parents should never assume anything when it comes to the safety of their children (I guess maybe the better way to ask my question was whether or not EAPs were currently required at all schools).

      I’m going from memory, but it seems like Louisiana enacted a pretty expansive youth concussion law in comparison to some other states (covering a number of youth sports clubs and leagues). Some states only cover high school athletes, others include middle school athletes, but not youth clubs or leagues utilizing school facilities. The potential benefit of a federal law, is that it could provide the opportunity to bring all states up to minimum standards.

      Unfortunately, based on information at the link, H.R. 469 has about a 1% chance of passing. (Is there anything we can do to help push this along?)

      The bill would require schools to meet minimum standards to receive funds (which could be a strong incentive for compliance).

      “Beginning with fiscal year 2013, in order to be eligible to receive funds for such year or a subsequent fiscal year under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.) each State educational agency shall issue regulations establishing the following minimum requirements:”

      The bill also requires academic accommodations, which is a huge issue for students who have symptoms for more than a few days.

      I’m not sure if the legislation would cover all clubs/leagues utilizing school facilities, however, because the schools claim such organizations aren’t “organized” by the school.

      “any extracurricular sports team, club, or league organized by a school on or off school grounds”

  4. Student May 2, 2012 / 21:13

    16 more states to go! Research indicates that the number of concussions that occur in school sports decrease significantly when bills like this one are passed. Preventing concussions important but recognizing the symptoms of concussions and preventing a second blow can be life saving. Way to go Kentucky!

  5. concussionsolutions May 4, 2012 / 11:58

    Concerned Mom,
    No. To my knowledge (I cannot find anything, nor am I aware of any) there is no “law” or “requirement” for schools to have an EAP with regards to athletics. There are two laws currently in LA that we are involved with. One is obviously the “Louisiana Youth Concussion Act” (ACT 314), and the other is the “Comprehensive Sports Injury Management Program” (ACT 352).

    In Summary, ACT 314 “creates the LA Youth Concussion Act. This act applies to both public and private clubs or recreation facilities and leagues that offer athletic activities to youths (between the ages of 7 and 19 years old) as well as the governing authority of each public and nonpublic elementary, middle, junior high, and high school. Under the legislation, any coaches, officials, or volunteers involved in athletic activities have to participate in an annual training course centered on recognizing concussions or head injuries. The act also requires that any athlete who is reasonably suspected of suffering a concussion or head injury be removed from play. Furthermore, as a condition to participate, the Act requires youth athletes and their parents to sign an information sheet that includes conditions that must be met for any athlete who suffers or who is reasonably suspected of suffering a concussion to return to play. The Act requires other related matters.”

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