There has been much more awareness of children’s sports injuries in the last several years. As a result, youth sports safety laws have been implemented in an effort to reduce or prevent the number of serious injuries. One of the most common sports injuries is the concussion. Unfortunately, a concussion is also one of the most serious injuries that can occur. Doctors are learning more about the severe damage that concussions can cause. Arizona, like other states, has a youth sports concussion safety law in effect.
Youth Sports Concussion Safety Law
The youth sports concussion law is designed to help protect children from damaging injuries while participating in organized sports. Some of the important provisions of the law are:
- School Districts are required to develop educational programs and concussion guidelines
- Youth athletes and a parent or guardian must sign and return a concussion and head injury information sheet annually
- Youth athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion must be immediately removed from competition
- Youth athlete must receive health care provider’s permission to return to sport
The law applies to most, but not all, sports activities in Arizona. Parents or legal guardians are required to consent to the student’s participation in the sport after being provided information about concussions and head injuries. The school is responsible for ensuring that any child who may possibly have suffered a concussion be immediately evaluated and treated.
Removal of Player from Game
Generally, the coach is responsible for removing players from games. However, it is important to note that under the law, a child may be removed by a licensed medical professional such as a trainer, doctor, or nurse, by game officials, or by a parent. Any youth who is suspected of having suffered a concussion during a practice, game, activity, or competition, is to be removed from the activity. The child cannot return to play or practice until he or she is cleared to do so. Clearance means that a health care provider with specific training in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries has examined the child and determined that no concussion occurred, or that the child has been diagnosed with a concussion, and was successfully treated.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association also has a bylaw that applies to Arizona high school athletes which requires students to take and pass with a grade of 80 or better, a 30 minute, interactive online concussion learning tool. Schools must stay updated on changes or revisions to the law in order to remain in compliance. When any questions or disputes arise, administrators are urged to consult with an experienced education law attorney.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Youth Sports Safety Laws, or other Education Law matters, please feel free to contact Erin H. Walz at 480.461.5379, log on to www.udallshumway.com or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.
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