Children's Hospital Colorado

What Does the New Concussion Legislation Mean?

A little league coach talks to his players at the ball field.

We circle back to the youth sports concussion law (Senate Bill 40, or the “Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act“) that took effect on January 1, 2012 and puts safety measures in place to help young athletes who suffer from a head injury while playing sports. So, what are the requirements? What does it specifically mean to you as a coach?

What Senate Bill 40 means for parents

As a parent, this is what you should expect from your son’s or daughter’s coach in 2012:

  1. Coaches need to complete a concussion recognition training annually. This includes ALL organized youth sports for kids 11 to 18 years old. This training may be completed through a free online course or through an in-person training by a medical professional trained in dealing with concussions.
  2. Coaches must immediately remove an athlete with a suspected concussion from play. If an athlete has been taken out of a game for a possible concussion, they should not be allowed to return to the game or practice the same day. The athlete will need to avoid further practices/ games until cleared by a healthcare professional.
  3. Coaches should always notify a parent of any athlete they remove from play due to a suspected concussion. Information should be given to the parents regarding the signs and symptoms of concussion so that they can monitor their child at home.
  4. A player with a suspected concussion must be evaluated by a healthcare provider* and receive written clearance from the provider to return to play.

Download a handout about Colorado's Senate Bill 40 (.pdf)

*The bill defines the following as healthcare providers who can determine if an athlete is ready to return to play: physicians, neuropsychologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners. The bill also permits certified athletic trainers to manage a concussed athlete’s gradual return to play after the athlete has been evaluated and received clearance to return to play from a healthcare provider.

Written by: Bridget Thrower Younger, MED, ATC, Program Coordinator Sports Medicine, Orthopedics Institute, Children’s Hospital Colorado.