Implementation Date of New Concussion Law Extended

December 10, 2015

By Darcee C. Williams

On August 3, 2015, Senate Bill 7 was signed into law (Public Act 99-245) creating the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act.  The Act adds section 22-80 to the Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/22-80) and generally requires concussion education, the appointment of a Concussion Oversight Team to develop return to learn and return to play protocols and requires the Board to develop a written school-specific emergency action plans.  The law also requires certain individuals to undergo concussion training.  A school district must implement the Act if it offers interscholastic athletic activities or interscholastic athletics under the direction of a coach (volunteer or school employee), athletic director, or band leader. 

The new concussion law had an immediate effective date.  However, on November 30, 2015, Governor Rauner signed legislation (Senate Bill 219; Public Act 99-486) into law extending the implementation date of the new concussion law to the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.  Accordingly, school districts and other affected organizations do not have to scramble to comply with the new concussion law.  Nonetheless, we recommend that school districts begin implementing the law’s requirements in the upcoming months to the extent practicable, including compliance with the law’s training requirements and taking steps toward developing emergency action plans. 

The IASB has developed a Checklist for Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act available on their website.  Implementation guidance is also available from Lurie Children’s Hospital, which supported passage of the new concussion legislation.  Lurie has developed a publication titled Return to Learn after a Concussion:  A Guide for Teachers and School Professionals available on their website.  Lurie also has a free 30-minute online educational module of the content outlined in the Return to Learn Guide.  

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and the Illinois High School Associationhave useful information on the recognition, response, and prevention of concussions.

At our annual client seminar on March 5, 2016, we will discuss and answer questions regarding the new concussion law.  In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding the new concussion law or would like a copy of Scariano, Himes and Petrarca’s Concussion Policy and Procedures, please contact Darcee Williams or Anthony Scariano.