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Kentucky Bill Would Tighten Rules on Athletes Suffering Concussions

By Lexington Herald Leader/Valerie Honeycutt Spears on March 10, 2017 state news

From the Lexington Herald Leader

Public school coaches would be required to have the written consent of a physician before they could let a student athlete diagnosed with a concussion play or practice under a bill headed to the full state Senate.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Kentucky, student athletes suspected of having a concussion must be removed from play immediately.

House Bill 241, approved by the Senate Education Committee Thursday, says that without the written consent, a coach cannot return a student athlete to play if the physician or licensed health care provider determines that a concussion has occurred.

It also says that if no physician or licensed health care provider is present at a practice or game to perform the required evaluation, a coach can’t return a student athlete to play who is suspected of having a concussion. The student athlete won’t be allowed to participate in any subsequent practice or athletic competition unless written clearance from a physician is provided.

Sponsored by Rep. John Sims Jr., D-Flemingsburg, HB 241 needs the approval of the full Senate, which goes back into session Tuesday.

The legislation does two things, Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett told the Herald-Leader.

First, it takes a KHSAA policy and codifies it into state law. “This is an important step to help ensure the protection of students,” he said.

“In addition, it removes any ambiguity in the responsibility of a coach that someone could read into the current law that was adopted a few years back,” Tackett said.


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