Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed the Mississippi Youth Concussion Act into law today. Every state in the nation now has a youth sports concussion law.
The legislation contains three core principles:
- Concussion education for young athletes and parents
- Immediate removal of an athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion or brain injury
- Mandatory clearance of the athlete by an appropriate health care provider -- including a licensed physician, a licensed nurse practitioner or licensed physician assistant, who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions -- before returning to practice or competition.
The act applies to school-sponsored/interscholastic sports in Grades 7 through 12.
"Mississippi is pleased to enact Return to Play legislation that will help protect both athletes and coaches," Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said. "Sports and athletic activities are an important part of life in Mississippi, and taking the steps outlined in this new policy will ensure a safe environment for children."
"This is an important moment for all young athletes and their parents," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "During a week when all eyes are on the football field, we congratulate Mississippi leaders on helping to protect young players, no matter what sport they play. We will continue to focus on making our game better and safer and setting the right example for all athletes when it comes to health and safety."
The youth concussion laws were inspired by Zackery Lystedt who, in 2006, suffered a brain injury following his return to a middle school football game after sustaining a concussion. Zackery, his family and a broad range of medical, business and community partners, including the NFL, lobbied the Washington state legislature for a law to better protect young athletes in all sports.
In May 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent letters to governors of 44 states that did not have concussion laws urging them to pass a law similar to the Lystedt Law and pledged the NFL would advocate for the laws until every state had one. In the letter, Commissioner Goodell said sports and political leaders can help raise awareness of concussions while ensuring proper and effective treatment. The NFL and its 32 clubs actively advocated for the passage of youth concussion laws throughout the country.
-- NFL Communications