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.

New Changes to the Law Affecting Epinephrine Administration in Schools

October 22, 2014

By Anthony Scariano III

Effective August 1, 2014, the Illinois General Assembly amended the School Code to allow school districts to obtain “undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors,” if they wish, for administration on or around school premises. An undesignated epinephrine auto-injector is one that is prescribed in the name of a school district, as opposed to a particular student.  These auto-injectors are commonly known as EpiPens.

A school district, through its school nurse or “trained personnel,” may provide an undesignated auto-injector to:

  • A student for self-administration, as long as the undesignated auto-injector meets the student’s already- existing prescription that is on file with the school; and
  • Any personnel authorized under a student’s individual health care action plan, Illinois Food Allergy Emergency Action Plan and Treatment Authorization Form, or Section 504 Plan, for administration on the student, as long as the undesignated auto-injector meets the student’s prescription on file.
  • School nurses or “trained personnel” may also administer an undesignated auto-injector to any person that they, in good faith, believe is having an anaphylactic reaction.
  • “Trained personnel” must complete annual training (on-line or in person), and must also submit proof of certification in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator operation. The Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”) will eventually release training resources on its website.

The law also:

Requires schools to activate the EMS system andnotify certain people whenever epinephrine is administered, whether undesignated or student-specific; and

Requires schools to report certain information about an administration of an undesignated auto-injector to ISBE within three days of an administration.

The importance of legislation that affects the health and well-being of students can never be overstated. Attorneys at Scariano, Himes, and Petrarca are available to assist you as you review policies, procedure, and practices in your school district. Please feel free to contact us if you need any further information regarding the amendments mentioned in this bulletin.