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Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: Delaware

1st State is 28th to enact law

On August 30, 2011, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill No. 111 into law, adding the state to the list of thirty-one states and the District of Columbia that have enacted statutes to protect student-athletes from the dangers of concussion. 

The statute requires the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) to adopt regulations for the appropriate recognition and management of student-athletes exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with a concussion during practices, scrimmages and interscholastic sports including rules requiring that:

  1. each student-athlete and the athlete's parent or guardian sign and return on an annual basis a concussion information sheet designed by the DIAA in order to be allowed to participate in practice or competition;
  2. each coach complete concussion training with a timetable and curriculum established by the Association; and
  3. a student-athlete be promptly removed from play if suspected of having suffered a concussion or exhibiting signs or symptoms of concussion until completion of assessment or medical clearance conforming to the DIAA's regulations.

The regulations will need to be in place no later than the 2012-2013 school year.

Former Philadelphia Eagles player Vince Papale, who was among those attending the signing ceremony, told the Newark (DE) Post that the law, which codifies the DIAA current rule requiring athletes with suspected concussion to obtain medical clearance before being allowed to return to play, was a good move.  "It is the nature of an athlete to want to stay in the game," Papale said.  "The invincible attitude is why great athletes perform as they do.  We need to make sure that when it comes to kids especially, that we look out for their long-term health.  We owe them that much."

Bill shepherded by mom and nurse

Rep. Rebecca Walker (D. Middletown), who led the effort in the Delaware legislature to pass the bill, told the Post, "As a nurse and a mother, I know the importance of ensuring the safety of our young people following an injury. We need to make sure that our kids no longer will be returned to the fields without being properly and carefully examined.  This is the type of legislation that will protect our young people and have an everlasting effect on our athletes' wellbeing.  This [is the] type of legislation I came to Dover to introduce and have passed and signed into law."

Source: "Governor signs law to protect student athletes from concussions. Newark Post online (http://www.newarkpostonline.com/articles/2011/08/30/news/doc4e5d7461478c...) (accessed September 1, 2011).

Posted September 1, 2011; revised January 2, 2012