Student Concussion Bill enacted
This bill establishes standards for managing concussions to student athletes. In order to return to play the athlete must be cleared by a licensed psychologist trained in neuropsychology, by a physician who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, or by certain other health care providers under the supervision of the physician. The Pennsylvania Psychological Association's advocacy was instrumental in this bill's passage. The association's past president, Dr. Mark Hogue stated, "This new law will be extremely important to any athlete who suffers a concussion. Athletes who return to play prematurely are at risk of a second concussion, which can be life-threatening." Dr. Hogue is a clinical and sport psychologist from Erie.
The bill requires the state Departments of Health and Education to develop and post on their websites information on the nature of concussions in athletic activities and the risks associated with continuing to play or practice after a concussion. Student-athletes and their parents or guardians must sign an acknowledgment of receipt of an information sheet on concussions prior to participation in athletics. It will require coaches to complete a concussion management certification-training course before coaching any athletic activity. During an athletic contest coaches will be required to remove athletes from competition if they exhibit signs of a concussion.
The legislation will become effective on July 1, 2012, in time for the next school year. It does not pertain to private schools, but only to public schools. It covers interscholastic athletics as well as other sports associated with a school entity, and includes cheerleading, practices, and scrimmages.
For more information on psychological and emotional health for you and your family, visit the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's Web site, www.papsy.org
The Pennsylvania Psychological Association is a member-driven organization dedicated to promoting and advancing psychology in Pennsylvania, advocating for public access to psychological services, and enhancing multiple dimensions of human welfare while supporting the development of competent and ethical psychologists. Our mission is to educate, update and inform the public and our membership on cutting-edge psychological theory and practice through training activities and public policy initiatives.