The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 16: Education

Chapter 31: MEDICAL INSPECTION GENERALLY; HEALTH SERVICES

Sub-Chapter 03: Health And Safety Generally

16 V.S.A. § 1431. Concussions and other head injuries



§ 1431. Concussions and other head injuries

(a) Definitions. As used in this subchapter:

(1) "Coach" means a person who instructs or trains students on a school athletic team.

(2) "Collision sport" means football, hockey, lacrosse, or wrestling.

(3) "Contact sport" means a sport, other than football, hockey, lacrosse, or wrestling, defined as a contact sport by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

(4) "Health care provider" means an athletic trainer, or other health care provider, licensed pursuant to Title 26, who has within the preceding five years been specifically trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and other head injuries. Training pursuant to this subdivision shall include training materials and guidelines for practicing physicians provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if available.

(5) "School athletic team" means an interscholastic athletic team or club sponsored by a public or approved independent school for elementary or secondary students.

(6) "Youth athlete" means an elementary or secondary student who is a member of a school athletic team.

(b) Guidelines and other information. The Secretary of Education or designee, assisted by members of the Vermont Principals' Association selected by that association, members of the Vermont School Boards Insurance Trust, and others as the Secretary deems appropriate, shall develop statewide guidelines, forms, and other materials, and update them when necessary, that are designed to educate coaches, youth athletes, and the parents and guardians of youth athletes regarding:

(1) the nature and risks of concussions and other head injuries;

(2) the risks of premature participation in athletic activities after receiving a concussion or other head injury;

(3) the importance of obtaining a medical evaluation of a suspected concussion or other head injury and receiving treatment when necessary;

(4) effective methods to reduce the risk of concussions occurring during athletic activities; and

(5) protocols and standards for clearing a youth athlete to return to play following a concussion or other head injury, including treatment plans for such athletes.

(c) Notice and training. The principal or headmaster of each public and approved independent school in the State, or a designee, shall ensure that:

(1) the information developed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section is provided annually to each youth athlete and the athlete's parents or guardians;

(2) each youth athlete and a parent or guardian of the athlete annually sign a form acknowledging receipt of the information provided pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection and return it to the school prior to the athlete's participation in training or competition associated with a school athletic team;

(3)(A) each coach of a school athletic team receive training no less frequently than every two years on how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion or other head injury, how to reduce the risk of concussions during athletic activities, and how to teach athletes the proper techniques for avoiding concussions; and

(B) each coach who is new to coaching at the school receive training prior to beginning his or her first coaching assignment for the school; and

(4) each referee of a contest involving a high school athletic team participating in a collision sport receive training not less than every two years on how to recognize concussions when they occur during athletic activities.

(d) Participation in athletic activity.

(1) Neither a coach nor a health care provider shall permit a youth athlete to continue to participate in any training session or competition associated with a school athletic team if the coach or health care provider knows or should know that the athlete has sustained a concussion or other head injury during the training session or competition.

(2) Neither a coach nor a health care provider shall permit a youth athlete who has been prohibited from training or competing pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection to train or compete with a school athletic team until the athlete has been examined by and received written permission to participate in athletic activities from a health care provider.

(e) Action plan.

(1) The principal or headmaster of each public and approved independent school in the State or a designee shall ensure that each school has a concussion management action plan that describes the procedures the school shall take when a student athlete suffers a concussion. The action plan shall include policies on:

(A) who makes the initial decision to remove a student athlete from play when it is suspected that the athlete has suffered a concussion;

(B) what steps the student athlete must take in order to return to any athletic or learning activity;

(C) who makes the final decision that a student athlete may return to athletic activity; and

(D) who has the responsibility to inform a parent or guardian when a student on that school's athletic team suffers a concussion.

(2) The action plan required by subdivision (1) of this subsection shall be provided annually to each youth athlete and the athlete's parents or guardians.

(3) Each youth athlete and a parent or guardian of the athlete shall annually sign a form acknowledging receipt of the information provided pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection and return it to the school prior to the athlete's participation in training or competition associated with a school athletic team.

Subsection (f) effective July 1, 2015.

(f) Health care providers; presence at athletic events.

(1) The home team shall ensure that a health care provider is present at any athletic event in which a high school athletic team participates in a collision sport. If an athlete on the visiting team suffers a concussion during the athletic event, the health care provider shall notify the visiting team's athletic director within 48 hours after the injury occurs.

(2) Home teams are strongly encouraged to ensure that a health care provider is present at any athletic event in which a high school athletic team participates in a contact sport.

(3) A school shall notify a parent or guardian within 24 hours of when a student participating on that school's athletic team suffers a concussion. (Added 2011, No. 58, § 40, eff. May 31, 2011; amended 2011, No. 171 (Adj. Sess.), § 39a; 2013, No. 68, § 2.)