The Times West Virginian

August 15, 2013

Board seeks comment on concussion rules


Associated Press

CHARLESTON — High schools would have to inform parents, coaches and student-athletes of the risk of sports-related head injuries and report those injuries within 30 days under new rules the state Board of Education advanced for public comment on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, legislators passed a bill requiring the Secondary School Activities Commission to draft rules aimed at preventing youth concussions. Among other things, they require schools to increase awareness and warn players of the risks of continuing to play after suffering a concussion.

The legislation also requires schools to create a written procedure for recognizing injuries and then clearing athletes to return to play, including the written permission of a licensed health care professional.

The SSAC presented its proposed rule to the Legislative Oversight Committee on Education Accountability last month.

The board on Wednesday approved sending the rules for a 30-day public comment period, spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro said. A final vote could come later this year.

The issue of concussions in youth sports has been important to U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who introduced federal legislation to set safety standards for helmets in May.

The Youth Sports Concussion Act would help ensure parents aren’t misled by false and unproven claims from manufacturers of helmets and other safety equipment and require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to review a forthcoming study from the National Academies of Science on youth concussions. The commission might then be able to consider new safety standards for sports equipment if manufacturers don’t act on their own.

It would also give the Federal Trade Commission power to consider rules that prohibit false safety claims.

Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, held a discussion about youth concussions last year in Shepherdstown.