A stripped-down version of a concussion bill pitched by Rep. Liz Chavez, D-Lewiston, and Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, has finally passed the Idaho House of Representatives.
The original version of the legislation featured a two-pronged manner of attacking youth concussions in the state. The initial version directed parents, coaches, and players to undergo training in identifying concussions and also ordered coaches in public schools to remove players from practices or games when they are suspected of having suffered concussions. If a player was removed from a game under the provisions set forth in the initial version, that player would have been required to receive a written clearance note from a licensed medical doctor or physical trainer before getting back into practices or games.
On Tuesday, Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, stripped the bill of all regulatory requirements dealing with coaches and the guidelines for putting an athlete back into a sporting event. In previous hearings on the legislation, Crane said he felt the burden of requiring coaches to detect concussions was too heavy and could lead to liability issues.
The version of the bill passed by lawmakers in the House Thursday features language that focuses solely on education and will not add additional duties for coaches. The legislation directs the Idaho State Board of Education to work in conjunction with the Idaho High School Activities Association (IHSAA) to develop educational materials and programs that will aid in training coaches, athletes, and parents alike about the dangers and risks of concussions, which Smith said are particularly harmful to younger athletes. Chavez told lawmakers that she would like to see the training become mandatory at the IHSAA's annual meetings for coaches and athletic directors which are held in August.
(Note: View IdahoReporter.com's coverage of the committee hearing on the legislation, where the father of a young man who suffers life-long disabilities as a result of a concussion urged lawmakers to pass the bill.)
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