Increasing concussion awareness and education across the state is one step closer.
The state House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that would mandate concussion education for all student-athletes and parents at the high school level, along with informed consent signed by a parent prior to athletic participation. Any suspected concussion must be reported to a parent within 24 hours. Also, concussions will have to be reported annually to the state’s department of public health.
The House of Representatives voted 145-0. The bill, which was referred to the house earlier this month, now goes to the senate.
The Parents Concussion Coalition, a collection of parents in Connecticut with children who suffered life-changing concussions, started the bill. The group formed two years ago, aiming to protect young athletes and strengthen the state’s current concussion laws. It started with PTA meetings and eventually got the ear of legislators.
“Unanimous support,” said Diana Coyne, a member of the PCC. “Everyone sees need for it and supports safety measures that are in place.”
Connecticut became the third state to pass a concussion law in 2010. It mandated concussion education for high school coaches, along with remove-from-play and return-to-play protocols.
While other states have adopted stronger laws since that time, Connecticut has not.
There are only three states which don’t require concussion education for parents, four which don’t require concussion education for athletes and six which don’t require informed consent. Connecticut falls into all three categories.
“We need to pass these to keep up and then continue to work to put in additional layers of safety measures,” Coyne said. “This really is the first step. It’s an important step, but we are very far behind. Education is key. That’s where it all starts.”