This study examined written high school policies addressing youth traumatic brain injuries (TBI), more commonly known as concussions, to understand how they were implementing youth sports TBI laws.
The study reviewed policies from 71 high schools from 26 states and DC, and focused on how the policies were implementing three of the most common components of the laws — these are provisions that dictate when an athlete may return to play, when they are removed from play, and how parents and guardians are educated about concussions.
The researchers find that there was considerable variation in how high schools were implementing the laws.
Of the policies from 71 high school studied, all included at least two of the three main components of youth TBI laws. All but one school (98.6 percent) included the return to play component, 83.1 percent included the removal from play tenet, and 59 percent specified that information sheets about concussions needed to be distributed to athletes and their parents.
The researchers found additional variation in how high schools were implementing the education component. Nearly half of the policies required parents’ signatures on the information sheet, while less than 40 percent required the students’ signature. Beyond that, only 24 policies, or 33 percent, required that coaches receive education on how to recognize and manage concussions in youth athletes.
The paper’s authors include PHLR program grantees Hosea Harvey, JD, Jingzhen Yang, PhD, MPH, and Marizen Ramirez, were led by Kathryn Coxe, MSW of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.