Chapter 022


Enacted 06/09/10





     Introduced By: Representatives Gallison, McNamara, A Rice, Martin, and Azzinaro

     Date Introduced: January 07, 2010


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Title 16 of the General Laws entitled "EDUCATION" is hereby amended

by adding thereto the following chapter:





     16-91-1. Findings of fact. -- The general assembly hereby finds and declares: (1)

Concussions are one of the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who

participate in sports and recreational activities. A concussion is caused by a blow or motion to the

head or body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. The risk of catastrophic

injuries or death is significant when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated and


     (2) Concussions are a type of brain injury that can range from mild to severe and can

disrupt the way the brain normally works. Concussions can occur in any organized or

unorganized sport or recreational activity and can result from a fall or from players colliding with

each other, the ground, or with obstacles. Concussions occur with or without loss of

consciousness, but the vast majority occurs without loss of consciousness.

     (3) Continuing to play with a concussion or symptoms of a head injury leaves the young

athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury and even death. The general assembly also

recognizes that, despite having generally recognized return to play standards for concussion and

head injury, some affected youth athletes are prematurely returned to play resulting in actual or

potential physical injury or death to youth athletes in the State of Rhode Island.

     (4) Concussions can occur in any sport or recreational activity. All coaches, parents, and

athletes shall be advised of the signs and symptoms of concussions as well as the protocol for



     16-91-2. Definitions. -- (a) For the purpose of this section, the term "youth sports

programs" means any program organized for recreational and/or athletic competition purposes by

any school district or by any school participating in Rhode Island Interscholastic League

Competition, and whose participants are nineteen (19) years of age or younger.


     16-91-3. School district’s guidelines to be developed and implemented. -- (a) The

department of education and the department of health shall work in concert with the Rhode Island

interscholastic league to develop and promulgate guidelines to inform and educate coaches, youth

athletes, and their parents and/or guardians of the nature and risk of concussion and head injury

including continuing to play after concussion or head injury. A concussion and head injury

information sheet shall be signed and returned by the youth athlete and the athlete’s parent and/or

guardian prior to the youth athlete’s return to practice or competition.

     (b) School districts are required to use training materials made available by the United

States Center for Disease Control and Prevention entitled "Heads Up: Concussion in the High

School Sports/Concussion in Youth Sports" and any updates or amendments thereto, or training

materials substantively and substantially similar thereto. The department of education shall post

training materials made available by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on its

website. All coaches, trainers, and volunteers involved in a youth sport or activity covered by this

chapter must complete a training course in concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Training may

consist of videos, classes, and any other generally accepted mode and medium of providing


     (c) School districts are encouraged to have all student athletes baseline or "impact" tested

prior to the start of every sport season. Parents and/or guardians shall be provided with

information as to the risk of concussion and/or traumatic brain injuries prior to the start of every

sport season and they shall sign an acknowledgement as to their receipt of such information.

     (d) A youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a

practice or game shall be removed from competition at that time.

     (e) A youth athlete, who has been removed from play, may not return to play until the

athlete is evaluated by a licensed physician and until the athlete receives written clearance to

return to play from that licensed physician.

     (f) All school districts are encouraged to have an athletic trainer or similarly trained

person at all recreational and athletic events addressed by this statute.


     16-91-4. All other youth sports program. – All other youth sports programs not

specifically addressed by this statute are encouraged to follow the guidance set forth in this

statute for all program participants who are age nineteen (19) and younger.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.



LC00062/SUB A/3