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April 10, 2017

Connecticut Youth Concussion Bill Passes Committee With Some Public Opposition

  • Elected Body
  • Neuroscience

Cheshire Patch – A bill designed to give youth sports participants the same type of protection from concussion dangers as high school athletes is making its way through the General Assembly.

The bill has passed through the Public Health Committee and is headed to a full vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The bill passed, though objections were heard during public hearing testimony that the concussion protocol placed on youth programs would make it difficult to recruit coaches for teams – and possibly open up the floodgates for unaffordable litigation.

The bill, as written, would ensure that coaches of youth activities complete training on concussions before being allowed to coach. It also would require coaches of youth athletic activities to immediately remove participants from a sports activity after signs of a concussion were evident.

Furthermore, it wouldn’t allow an athlete to return to the field until a written clearance from a qualified health professional, under the same standards that currently apply to intramural or scholastic athletics was signed.

The bill has many supporters, including the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health (CADH), which submitted written testimony, which said it “supports the bill and its expansion on the notification and training components regarding concussions for all organized youth athletic activities.

“This is in response to evidence of short and long-term health effects of head trauma especially among children,” the CADH statement said.

But there were many opposed.

Joseph Guerra, president of the CT Junior Soccer Association, said: “By putting these responsibilities on these volunteers and making them liable, per state statute, many youth organizations might struggle to recruit volunteers to coach kids, increasing the number of kids who play in unsupervised settings where the risk of concussion is even higher.”