Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill Tuesday that sets standards for how schools treat student-athletes who have suffered concussions.
Deal signed House Bill 284 – the Return to Play Act of 2013 – which develops return-to-play policies for student athletes who suffer concussions during games. The Atlanta Falcons worked along with legislators to make the bill a reality, according to a press release from the governor’s office.
“Even the mildest bump or blow to the head can lead to a concussion,” Deal said in the release. “I am proud to sign this bill that serves to protect Georgia’s young athletes from sustaining very serious injuries if the condition goes unnoticed or untreated.”
The legislation proposes three principles: education, recognition and return to play.
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The bill requires local boards of education, governing bodies of nonpublic schools and governing bodies of state charter schools to implement a concussion policy. The policy must provide a concussion form to parents and/or guardians. Athletes must be removed from the sport if they show signs or symptoms of a concussion. A student-athlete can’t return to play unless they are cleared by a doctor.
The bill also requires public recreation leagues to provide a concussion form to parents and encourages those leagues to use all aspects of the bill.
Forty-three states have youth concussion laws and others have pending legislation, according to the release.