Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, and Rep. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, are concerned about the effects of concussions and concussion-related injuries on young athletes in Idaho. The pair of lawmakers teamed up to propose legislation that could put in place some safeguards that could potentially prevent athletes from sustaining more life-threatening injuries.
The legislation proposed would create several levels of protection from concussions for athletes in state. Parents of athletes who participate in contact sports would be required to sign a yearly concussion information sheet, informing them of the health risks of the injury. Informations sheets would be required to be returned to the coach by the second practice session for the respective team and sport.
If it is suspected that an athlete has suffered a concussion, the legislation directs coaches to immediately remove that athlete from the sporting event, regardless if it is practice or a game. Before the athlete is allowed to return, he must show written authorization from a licensed medical provider before returning to the activity.
The legislation also outlines the duties of the Idaho State Board of Education in preventing concussions. The board is ordered to collaborate with the Idaho High School Activities Association in developing programs for coaches, players, and parents on the risks of concussions. The bill does not mandate training for coaches, but only seeks to make available training materials. The legislation would not apply to private sports organizations, but would only apply to publicly-funded sporting activities.
The legislation will receive another committee hearing next week.
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