Ohio law addresses head injuries in youth sports

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio law taking effect Friday requires coaches, volunteers and officials in youth sports organizations to have players who show concussion-like symptoms sit out games or practices until they're checked and cleared by a doctor or licensed health care provider.

The law also requires that coaches know more about concussions and how to spot warning signs and that parents review and sign information sheets about brain injuries.

The law also prohibits student athletes from returning to games or practices the same day they're taken out with concussion-like symptoms.

Some requirements of the law include:

  • Parents will have to return a signed form provided by the school saying they've received a concussion information sheet from the Ohio Department of Health.
  • Coaches and referees may not serve unless they have completed an online training program every three years. Both will be required to remove athletes from participation if they show signs of a concussion. That athlete will not be permitted to return to activity on that day.
  • Clearing an athlete to return to play must be done by a physician or other designated healthcare provider.

"We're committed to community outreach and partnership of this nature as we have a multi-disciplinary program we follow to treat concussions," Dr. Jon Divine of the UC Medical Center's Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, said in a news release. "If an athlete is removed from the game, they cannot return to play on the same day until they have been assessed and receive written clearance by a physician or licensed health care provider. We are hopeful this will cut down on the rates of concussions we see in youth sports."

Lawmakers previously corrected a bill-writing error that inadvertently imposed criminal penalties for violating the law.

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