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  • Concussion Legislation Reintroduced

    Important concussion legislation supported by APTA has been reintroduced in Congress. Developed with input from the association, the Protecting Student Athletes From Concussions Act (HR 3532) establishes guidelines around prevention, identification, treatment, and management of concussions in school-age children, and acknowledges the role that physical therapists (PTs) have in evaluating and treating these injuries.

    The legislation has been reintroduced by Reps Tim Bishop (D-NY) and George Miller (D-CA), and would require states to implement concussion safety and management plans that include return-to-play requirements and academic supports. Additionally, the bill requires that any student who suffers a concussion be immediately removed from any participation in school sports until he or she receives a written release from a health care professional. Physical therapists (PTs) are explicitly listed as one of the professionals qualified to make these return-to-play decisions. APTA advocated for the legislation when it was initially introduced in 2011 and worked with members of Congress on the recent reintroduction.

    Related work continues around the reintroduction of a similar piece of legislation, the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act (ConTACT) (HR 3113/S 1516) introduced by Sen Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). Though not passed into law when it was first introduced, the ConTACT bill helped to establish a workgroup within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assigned to developing guidelines for mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). APTA members Anne Mucha, PT, DPT, MS, NCS, and John DeWitt, PT, DPT, SCS, represent the role of PTs on the CDC workgroup.

    The latest iteration of the ConTACT Act bill calls for the establishment of national guidelines drawn from the CDC workgroup recommendations on best practices for diagnosis, treatment, and management of MTBI in school-aged children. The legislation also provides for grants to help states implement these guidelines. APTA will continue to advocate for these pieces of legislation as opportunities arise to support the CDC workgroup recommendations and the role of the PT in concussion management.

    APTA believes that concussion should be managed and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of licensed health care providers that includes a PT and offers multiple resources. The association has developed policy resources at both state and federal levels, while practice-focused online concussion resources include a series of podcasts, a PT's guide to concussions, and access to evidence-based practice research through the PT Now webpage.

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