Pennsylvania Physical Therapists to Help Protect Student Athletes From Concussions

Concussion legislation includes physical therapists as health care providers who can determine when students can be removed from the game.  

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, November 15, 2011 — A new law establishing standards for managing concussions and traumatic brain injuries will provide better protection of student athletes by requiring that they be immediately removed from participation in an activity when a concussion is suspected. Physical therapists are specifically included as part of the team of health care providers and officials who are designated to make this determination, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Publicly signed November 14 at the Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, by Gov Tom Corbett, SB 200 also requires that students be evaluated and cleared for participation in writing by an appropriate health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and other brain injuries. A physical therapist designated by a physician also will be part of the health care team that makes this determination.

"This law protects Pennsylvania student athletes," said APTA Pennsylvania Chapter President Ivan Mulligan, PT, DSC, SCS, ATC. "We encourage other states to follow Pennsylvania’s example and put similar laws on their books that protect their student and youth athletes, while ensuring there is access to a variety of qualified health care providers trained in the examination and management of concussions, including physical therapists.”

Following a highly visible campaign last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, legislation has been introduced in more than 35 states and enacted in 24 in an effort to reduce the risk of concussions or other brain injuries sustained in community and school sports or other extracurricular interscholastic activities.

APTA is working to make certain that physical therapists and other qualified health care providers are included in similar legislation in other states to ensure there is access and collaboration across a broad range of providers on this important public safety issue.

More information on concussions and how a physical therapist can help can be found in the Physical Therapist's Guide to Concussion.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 77,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com. Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@moveforwardpt) and Facebook (facebook.com/moveforwardpt).

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