New concussion legislation signed at Staples by Governor Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy signed the new concussion legislation on Sept. 29 at the Staples field house in an effort to promote proper treatment of brain injuries for high school athletes.

The drive to pass HB 5113, otherwise referred to as the Act Concerning Youth Athletics and Concussions (ACYAC), originated with Ann Sherwood, Pippa Bell Ader and Diana Coyne, three mothers of Staples High School athletes who suffered head injuries.

Many key figures attended the signing, including Malloy, Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe, Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, Rep. Diana Urban, Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Schools and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CASCIAC) Karissa Niehoff, Superintendent Elliott Landon and the Westport mothers, Sherwood, Ader and Coyne.

The Westport moms pushed this bill for safer regulations in youth sports to the next level with the help of Urban and Bartolomeo, co-chairs of the Legislature’s Children’s Committee.

The bill expands upon a 2010 law, implementing several changes in hopes to treat concussions more seriously and more effectively.

One of the significant changes is that if an athlete is displaying signs of a concussion or head injury, a qualified school employee must notify the athlete’s parent or legal guardian within 24 hours. Previously, according to the ACYAC, the coach only had to “remove a student athlete from participating in any intramural or interscholastic athletic activity.”

The ACYAC also instructs the Board of Education to make up a plan that details the required steps young athletes must take before returning to both school and extracurricular activities. In this plan there must be written materials, online concussion training guides or in-person training, and it must include:

  • a statement recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion or head injury;
  • how to find and receive proper medical treatment;
  • the possible risks of a concussion, including a warning about the dangers of continued participation in sports after receiving a concussion.
  • the steps and procedures that must be taken before the injured player is reintegrated into his/her former activities as both an athlete and a student.

the list of current best practices for preventing and treating concussions.

According to Governor Malloy, these changes will, “set aside sufficient time to allow brain injuries to heal.”