HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett ceremonially signed the “Safety in Youth Sports Act,” a bill intended to prevent serious head injuries in student athletes and strengthen education about the risks of concussions.
“Some will call this erring on the side of caution,” Corbett said. “To that I say, ‘you bet.’ When it has to do with our young people, with their health and safety, we should take no needless chances.”
Corbett held a ceremonial signing for what has become known as “the Concussion Bill,” at Lower Dauphin High School, surrounded by student athletes. Also present were Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis, and sponsors of the legislation Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh) and Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery).
“It’s time to take concussions seriously, before they ruin young lives. That’s why we passed this law for the young people you see standing here and on the playing courts and fields around the state,” Corbett said.
The measure, Senate Bill 200, establishes standards for managing concussions and other brain injuries. It requires student athletes who may have suffered a head injury to be removed from the activity and not allow them to return to play until they have been medically cleared. In addition, it requires coaches to be trained annually and establishes penalties for those who don’t comply.
“Our hope is that this bill will reduce the risk of long-term damage for student athletes who suffer concussions or other brain-related trauma while participating in sports. By signing this bill, Pennsylvania joins 31 other states in establishing legislation,” Corbett said.
The law also requires the departments of Health and Education to post guidelines and other relevant materials online to inform and educate students participating in any athletic activity, their parents and their coaches about the nature and risk of concussion and traumatic brain injury.
The law, which takes effect next July 1, was officially signed Nov. 9. To read the bill, visit the General Assembly’s Web site.