Concussions in Youth Sport Safety Bill

BC LIBERAL GOVERNMENT CAUCUS
NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release
November 17, 2011

MLA STILWELL INTRODUCES CONCUSSIONS IN YOUTH SPORT SAFETY BILL

VICTORIA – Vancouver-Langara MLA Dr. Moira Stilwell introduced a Private Member’s Bill to the Legislature today. The proposed Concussions in Youth Sport Safety Act will help protect the minds of young athletes by requiring youth sports organizations to adopt guidelines to increase awareness about concussions and outlines criteria for athletes experiencing concussion symptoms to follow before returning to play.

Why this Matters:

  • According to the Canadian Paediatrics Society, the majority of sport-related head injuries occur in individuals younger than 20 years of age.
  • Once a person suffers a concussion, he or she is often more likely to sustain future concussions. An impact delivered to the head of an athlete who has not yet fully recovered from an initial concussion can be devastating – potentially resulting in life-long brain damage or even death. This condition is known as “Second Impact Syndrome.”
  • Young athletes often experience pressure to return to play before they have completely healed from a concussion.

Quotes:

“This bill protects the minds of young athletes by outlining specific guidelines for managing sports-related concussions. It will also empower parents, coaches and athletes with knowledge of the serious effects of concussions.”
Vancouver – Langara MLA Dr. Moira Stilwell

“This will focus attention on the issue of concussion and better management of risk in young athletes, and that is important.”
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall

“Football BC has been in the forefront pushing for this type of legislation. We are fully supportive of this initiative and think it’s the right thing to do to protect youth playing sports in B.C.”
Football BC Executive Director, Pat Waslen

“Concussions are brain injuries that often go unrecognized and untreated. As a brain injury there are hidden costs, as well as real costs, not only to the sports world, but to the workplace and the health care system. This legislation is an excellent step towards raising awareness about this preventable issue and will help educate the public about the serious effects of concussions.”
– Neurosurgeon and ThinkFirst BC Director, Dr. Brian Hunt

Additional information:

  • The bill requires Youth Sports Organizations to develop and adopt guidelines and other pertinent information and forms 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.
  • Prior to initiating practice or competition in a high-risk sport, young athletes will be required to return a concussion and head injury information sheet  signed by them and their parents.
  • Youth athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a practice or game will be required to be removed from competition.
  • A youth athlete who has been removed from play may not return to play until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and receives clearance to return to play from that health care professional.
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For more information contact:

Thomas Marshall
Communications Officer, Government Caucus of British Columbia
Thomas.marshall@leg.bc.ca
(250) 387-8589