Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act
Click here to read the full text of the law
In April 2011, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act. This new law provides all children playing organized youth sports with protections and safeguards against returning to play following a concussion, requires a doctor's written approval to return to any type of physical activity, and requires all head youth coaches to take and pass an annual concussion awareness exam. The Coaches exam is free of charge, and can be done online or through attendance at certain approved presentations.
The Coaches exam is free of charge, and can be done online or through attendance at certain approved presentations. This training can be attended online, for free by going to http://www.nfhslearn.com/electiveDetail.aspx?courseID=15000. Coaches must first register on the NFHS website, and when prompted to input your "school", you can simply type in South Jeffco Sports Assoc. Upon successful completion of this training, you will be given the opportunity to print out a certificate of participation. South Jeffco Football will be offering the approved presentation at our July coaches clinic, and we are encouraging all coaches, not just head coaches, to comply. The new law officially takes effect on January 1, 2012.
South Jeffco Sports Association played a part in the passage of this law. We organized, planned and helped host the 2010 JMFA Coaches Symposium on Concussion Awareness & Protocol (see below), and South Jeffco Sports former president, Paul Sheehy, served on the Brain Injury Association of Colorado ("BIAC") Special Interest Group which presented the initial position papers, recommendations, and proposed language of the bill introduced to the Colorado legislature. We are very proud of our part in the passage of this law, and being ahead of the curve, as Colorado is just the 8th state to pass such a law. We are also both thankful and proud of the dozens of SJSA parents and athletes who accepted our invitation to attend the actual signing of the bill into law by the Governor at the Colorado State Capital. We were well represented, and it was a great sign of how much we care!
Parents, it should be an automatic question you ask of your child's coaches in any and all sports,
"Have you passed the Colorado Youth Coaches Concussion Exam, and are you familiar with the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act?"
Click here for an inspiring article on Jake Snakenberg, for whom the Colorado law was named.
YOUTH CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT & RETURN TO PLAY PROTOCOL
As prepared for all JMFA areas in June 2010 by
Dr. Gerry Gioia, Chair of Pediatric Neuropsychology, Children's National Hospital, Washington, DC, &
Dr. Stan Herring, Founder of Seattle Concussion Program, Team Physicial for Seattle Seahawks & Mariners, & Concussion Advisor to USAFootball.
The Jeffco Midget Football Association recognizes that a concussion is a serious injury to the brain resulting from a force or jolt applied directly or indirectly to the head producing a set of signs and symptoms reflecting the brain’s dysfunction. The League is committed to safe practices and provides a Youth Concussion program to educate parents, youth athletes, and coaches about the nature and risks of concussions, and procedures to detect and treat these brain injuries prior to a safe return to play. Coaches, parents and youth athletes form a team to work together to identify concussions once they occur and ensure safe return to play. It is the Association policy that if a youth athlete exhibits any sign of concussion or reports any symptom, he/she will be removed from practice or play. Parents are identified on the day of the injury. The parents will obtain proper medical evaluation by a licensed health care professional with training in concussion evaluation and management. The Association acknowledges that clearance to return to play is a medical decision. The licensed health care professional who evaluates the youth athlete is the only individual to provide clearance. The Association will not allow the youth athlete to participate in a practice or game while experiencing any lingering or persisting symptoms of a concussion, no matter how slight. The youth athlete must be completely symptom free at rest and during physical and mental exertion, with neurocognitive functioning that has returned to their normal baseline, prior to sports activities.
The Jeffco Midget Football Association Sports Concussion Program includes the following four fundamental components:
1. Verified training of coaches on concussion risks, recognition and management.
2. Education of parents and athletes on concussion risks, signs and symptoms, and post-injury management for sports and school. Parents and athlete read, sign and submit to their area football director the Parent-Athlete Concussion Information Sheet before the first practice.
3. Immediate removal from play of any youth athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice or game (i.e., exhibiting signs and/or symptoms). “When in doubt, sit them out” is the operating principle.
4. Written clearance to Return to Play of the youth athlete by a licensed health care professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussion. The written clearance must be received by the coach before the youth athlete is allowed to return to any play. “Return to Play Requires Medical OK” is the operating principle.
More information on concussion in youth sports can be found at: www.cdc.gov/concussion, www.wiaa.org, www.childrensnational.org/score, www.nfhslearn.com, www.usafootball.org, and www.nanonline.com, to name a few valuable resources.