After a decade (2001 – 2009) in which the U.S. experienced nearly 174,000 children and adolescents 19 and younger being treated for traumatic brain injury in U.S. emergency departments, states responded.All 50 states and the District of Columbia passed so-called “return-to-play” legislation between 2009 and 2014.The laws vary, but nearly all states require education or training on concussion recognition and appropriate responses (although just 20 require that coaches receive such training). Most also require that athletes immediately stop playing if a concussion is suspected. Players may return to practice or competition only after a health care provider has evaluated and cleared them after a minimum of 24 hours. However, only slightly more than half of the states require that the health professional be trained in TBI identification or management. Washington State passed the first return-to-play law in 2009. Known as the Zackery Lystedt law, the legislation is named after the 13-year-old middle school football player who returned to play 15 minutes after suffering a concussion, resulting in a TBI that left him in a coma for nine months. He still remains in a wheelchair. Washington’s legislation is considered the “gold standard” for return-to-play laws, one that, an Associated Press investigation reported in 2014, just 21 states matched. The analysis also found that about a third of state laws don’t reference which ages or grades are covered; few apply to recreational sports; some do not cover private schools; and nearly all lack any consequences for schools or teams that don’t comply with the law. Conclusion: While all states have such laws, those states that do not extend the policies to commercial or private instruction will likely continue to see legislative activity to expand youth concussion laws to those sectors, also (e.g., AB 2007 California; 2016).
The CDC offers a FREE online course that fulfills the state requirement for concussion training. Click here to view/complete the course or visit USAGymnasticsUniversity.org for additional concussion education.
You can also click here for a PDF handout/flyer to pass along to gymnastics professionals in your area.
Thank you for taking the time to read this email and for your dedication to the sport of gymnastics.
If you have and questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
Have a great weekend,
Manager of Educational Services
132 E. Washington Street, Suite 700
p: 317.829.5624 | usagym.org