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Governor signs bill to require biennial review of concussion policies

Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation Feb. 22 designed to support and improve the safety of student athletes across Virginia.

House Bill 1930, introduced by Delegate Richard Bell, requires the Board of Education to collaborate with stakeholders to biennially update its guidelines on policies related to concussions.

These policies are intended to inform and educate coaches, student athletes, and parents and guardians of the nature, risks, and effects of concussions as well as the criteria for removal and return to play.

Additionally, each local school division is required to biennially update its policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student athletes.

“As a state senator, I introduced and passed legislation directing the Board of Education to develop these guidelines and requiring local school divisions to create policies for identifying and handling suspected concussions,” said Governor Northam. “Delegate Bell’s legislation will strengthen this practice by requiring the Board’s guidelines and divisions’ procedures to be updated biennially, which will help account for new research and enhanced knowledge.”

House Bill 1930 passed the General Assembly with unanimous support.

“Concussions can be a serious medical concern and should not be taken lightly,” said Delegate Richard Bell. “It is critical that we keep our guidelines up to date to ensure that we protect the health and wellbeing of our student athletes and that is what HB 1930 aims to do.”

This bill requires the Board of Education to collaborate with 12 stakeholders, noted below, to update its guidelines.

Stakeholders include:
Virginia High School League
Virginia Department of Health
Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association
Virginia Physical Therapy Association
representatives of the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and the Children’s National Health System
Brain Injury Association of Virginia
American Academy of Pediatrics
Virginia College of Emergency Physicians
Virginia Academy of Family Physicians
Virginia Association of School Nurses
and a representative from a non-interscholastic youth sports program.

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