Concussion Awareness Training Moving Forward in House
The House Health Policy Committee has moved forward on a pair of bills (SB 1122 and HB 5697) that would mandate that coaches, employees, volunteers, and other adults involved with youth athletics, including school sports, participate in Department of Community Health developed concussion awareness training. Organizing entities, which includes schools, would also be required to distribute concussion awareness materials to participating youth athletes. The bills mandate that the state Department of Community Health develop and provide this training and the related materials for free on their website. The legislation currently provides an exemption for Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) athletics. If passed into law, the bills would not take affect until the 2013-14 school year.
The bills are the result of a nationwide effort by the National Football League (NFL) to raise awareness of the dangers of concussion and reduce the incidence of youth athletes continuing to play when concussed. In Michigan, the legislation has garnered the support of organizations as wide ranging as the YMCA, the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and the MHSAA. According to Education Week, 40 states have already passed youth concussion legislation and Michigan is one of eight states with pending legislation.
Both pieces of legislation still have to pass both the full House and Senate in order to become law. Final passage of this legislation could come as early as next week.