Annapolis, Md. – Maryland House Bill (HB) 858 and Senate Bill (SB) 771 – groundbreaking legislation to protect students from the dangerous effects of concussions – were signed into law today by Governor Martin O’Malley.
HB 858 and SB 771 provide protections for students who are suspected of incurring a concussion during practice or play. Any such student will be removed from practice or play and returned only after clearance by an appropriate licensed health care professional. The legislation also calls for the Maryland State Department of Education to implement concussion awareness programs for coaches, school personnel, student athletes and parents/guardians. Students and their parents/guardians will sign a concussion information sheet before participating in any sport. This applies to sports events played on public school and Parks & Recreation lands.
This legislation is modeled after the Zackery Lystedt Law enacted in the state of Washington. Lystedt was a student athlete who nearly died after sustaining a concussion while playing football. His experience and subsequent crusade to raise awareness about the serious effects of concussions led to the passage of this seminal legislation in Washington. Maryland is the 18th state to enact this legislation in the United States.
Delegate Sheila E. Hixson (D-District 20), who introduced HB 858, said, “My ultimate priority is the well-being of the students. We send them out to the field to keep them physically fit and teach them the skills associated with teamwork. They have a right to be safe.”
A number of organizations have joined with state legislators in support of the bills, including the NFL, Baltimore Ravens, the Brain Injury Association of Maryland, LifeBridge Health and Children’s National Medical Center, in Washington, DC.
“The youth concussion legislation makes sports even safer for Maryland’s young athletes,” said Baltimore Ravens President Dick Cass. “A formal, aggressive and uniform approach is necessary to protect youth athletes from the risks of concussions, and this legislation does just that. The Ravens are proud to support this legislation.”
“The Brain Injury Association of Maryland is the voice for those in Maryland who live with the devastating consequences of a brain injury, and we are proud to join with these legislators and organizations in support of this legislation,” said Diane Triplett, legislative liaison, the Brain Injury Association of Maryland. “This bill will help to reduce the severity of some brain injuries, help individuals access appropriate medical services sooner, and will have a profound impact on the brain injury community by increasing awareness.”
“Children’s National has worked in coalitions to successfully advance legislation in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., and we work on the national stage to change how youth athletes are cared for,” said Gerard Gioia, PhD, director of the Safe Concussion Outcome, Recovery & Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National Medical Center. “We cannot ignore the consequences of a concussion on all aspects of the student’s life, most notably their academic learning and performance. This legislation formalizes concussion awareness, recognition and response to prevent repeat injuries, which can be devastating to the still-developing brain.”
“The passage of this concussion legislation helps us in our education efforts around the state regarding the dangers of continued athletic participation with an injured brain,” said Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute of LifeBridge Health.
- LifeBridge Health: Noel Lloyd, 410.601.5026
- National Football League: Jeff Miller, 202.662.5593
- Children’s National Medical Center: Paula Darte, 202.476.4500
- Brain Injury Association of Maryland: Bryan Pugh, 410.448.2924