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Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: District of Columbia

On July 27, 2011, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed into law the Athletic Concussion Protection Act of 2011, adding the District of Columbia to the list of twenty-six states* that have passed strong youth sports concussion safety legislation since May 2009.

Key provisions

  • Broad coverage: The law covers athletes 18 years old and younger who participate in athletic programs
    • conducted by public, private, charter, parochial schoolsYouth football players stretching
    • sponsored the Department of Parks and Recreation; and
    • run under the auspices of non-profit and for-profit organizations.
  • Immediate removal from play in case of suspected concussion: Athletes who are suspected of having sustained a concussion must be immediately removed from play.
  • No return to play without written medical clearance: Athletes who have been removed may not return to play until evaluated by a licensed or certified health care provider and received written clearance. The law does not, however, expressly require, like many laws, that the health care provider have special expertise in the evaluation and management of sports concussions.
  • Training programs: The law requires the Mayor, through rulemaking, to establish training programs on the nature and risk of concussion, criteria for removal of an athlete from participation and return to play, risks to an athlete of not reporting an injury and continuing to participate, and to determine which individuals will be require to complete such programs.
  • Written clearance to play: The covered programs must provide education materials on concussion developed by the Mayor to athletes and their parents, both of whom must then sign a statement acknowledging receipt of such materials and return it to the program in order for the athlete to participate in a covered athletic activity.

* As of November 14, 2011, 31 states have now passed strong concussion safety laws.


Posted August 2, 2011; updated November 14, 2011