Concussions in student athletes are a growing public health problem that demands immediate attention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 3.8 million incidences of sports-related concussions occur every year. Since 2008, 35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation intended to address this public health concern, and legislation is still pending in many others. While the legislation in each state is different, in general it is intended to:
- Educate coaches, athletes, and parents about the dangers of concussions;
- Requires the removal of a student athlete from the athletic activity if he or she is suspected of having a concussion;
- Requires clearance from a licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions in order for the athlete to return to athletic activity. States define a "licensed health care provider" differently – some define it broadly to include many different providers working within their scopes of practice, including physical therapists, while others include only physicians.
Many state departments of education and public health have also developed regulations and guidelines for schools, coaches, parents, and athletes, as have state high school athletic associations. The resources below can help you find the relevant laws, regulations, and guidelines in your state, and provide you with more information about this issue.
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