Monthly Archives: December 2011

Senate Bill 256

Florida Senate – 2012 SB 256
By Senator Flores
38-00159-12 2012256__
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to youth and student athletes;
3 amending s. 943.0438, F.S.; requiring independent
4 sanctioning authorities to adopt policies to inform
5 certain officials, coaches, and youth athletes and
6 their parents of the nature and risk of certain head
7 injuries; requiring that a signed consent form be
8 obtained before the youth participates in athletic
9 practices or competitions; requiring that a youth
10 athlete be immediately removed from an athletic
11 activity following a suspected head injury; requiring
12 written clearance from a medical professional before
13 the youth resumes athletic activities; authorizing a
14 physician to delegate the performance of medical care
15 to a licensed or certified health care practitioner
16 and consult with or use testing and the evaluation of
17 cognitive functions performed by a licensed
18 neuropsychologist; amending s. 1006.20, F.S.;
19 requiring the Florida High School Athletic Association
20 to adopt policies to inform certain officials,
21 coaches, and student athletes and their parents of the
22 nature and risk of certain head injuries; requiring
23 that a signed consent form be obtained before a
24 student athlete participates in athletic practices or
25 competitions; requiring that a student athlete be
26 immediately removed from an athletic activity
27 following a suspected head injury; requiring written
28 clearance from a medical professional before the
29 student resumes athletic activities; authorizing a
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Florida Senate – 2012 SB 256
38-00159-12 2012256__
30 physician to delegate the performance of medical care
31 to a licensed or certified health care practitioner
32 and consult with or use testing and the evaluation of
33 cognitive functions performed by a licensed
34 neuropsychologist; providing an effective date.
35
36 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
37
38 Section 1. Paragraph (e) is added to subsection (2) of
39 section 943.0438, Florida Statutes, to read:
40 943.0438 Athletic coaches for independent sanctioning
41 authorities.—
42 (2) An independent sanctioning authority shall:
43 (e)1. Adopt guidelines to educate officials,
44 administrators, athletic coaches, and youth athletes and their
45 parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussion and
46 head injury.
47 2. Adopt bylaws or policies that require the parent or
48 guardian of a minor who participates in athletic practices or
49 competitions of the independent sanctioning authority, before
50 the minor participates in a competition, practice, or other
51 activity, to sign and return a consent form that explains the
52 nature and risk of concussion and head injury, including the
53 risk of continuing to play after a concussion or head injury has
54 occurred.
55 3. Adopt bylaws or policies that require a youth athlete
56 who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury in a
57 practice or competition to be immediately removed from the
58 activity. A youth athlete who has been removed may not return to
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Florida Senate – 2012 SB 256
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59 practice or competition until the youth receives written
60 clearance to return from a physician who is licensed under
61 chapter 458 or chapter 459. Before issuing a written clearance
62 to return to practice or competition, a physician may:
63 a. Delegate the performance of medical care to a health
64 care provider who is licensed or certified under s. 464.012, s.
65 458.347, s. 459.022, or s. 468.701, with whom the physician
66 maintains a formal supervisory relationship or established
67 written protocol that identifies the medical care or evaluations
68 to be performed, identifies conditions for performing medical
69 care or evaluations, and attests to proficiency in the
70 evaluation and management of concussions; and
71 b. Consult with or use testing and the evaluation of
72 cognitive functions performed by a neuropsychologist licensed
73 under chapter 490.
74 Section 2. Paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) are added to
75 subsection (2) of section 1006.20, Florida Statutes, to read:
76 1006.20 Athletics in public K-12 schools.—
77 (2) ADOPTION OF BYLAWS.—
78 (e) The organization shall adopt guidelines to educate
79 officials, administrators, coaches, and student athletes and
80 their parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussion
81 and head injury.
82 (f) The organization shall adopt bylaws or policies that
83 require the parent or guardian of a student who participates in
84 interscholastic athletic competition or who is a candidate for
85 an interscholastic athletic team, before the student
86 participates in a competition, practice, or other activity, to
87 annually sign and return a consent form that explains the nature
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Florida Senate – 2012 SB 256
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88 and risk of concussion and head injury, including the risk of
89 continuing to play after a concussion or head injury has
90 occurred.
91 (g) The organization shall adopt bylaws or policies that
92 require a student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a
93 concussion or head injury in a practice or competition to be
94 immediately removed from the activity. A student athlete who has
95 been removed may not return to practice or competition until the
96 student receives written clearance to return from a physician
97 who is licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459. Before issuing
98 a written clearance to return to practice or competition, a
99 physician may:
100 1. Delegate the performance of medical care to a health
101 care practitioner who is licensed or certified under s. 464.012,
102 s. 458.347, s. 459.022, or s. 468.701, with whom the physician
103 maintains a formal supervisory relationship or established
104 written protocol that identifies the medical care or evaluations
105 to be performed, identifies the conditions for their
106 performance, and attests to proficiency in the evaluation and
107 management of concussions; and
108 2. Consult with or use testing and the evaluation of
109 cognitive functions performed by a neuropsychologist licensed
110 under chapter 490.
111 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.
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House Bill 291

FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HB 291 2012
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to youth athletes; amending ss.
3 943.0438 and 1006.20, F.S.; requiring an independent
4 sanctioning authority for youth athletic teams and the
5 Florida High School Athletic Association to adopt
6 guidelines, bylaws, and policies relating to the
7 nature and risk of concussion and head injury in youth
8 athletes; requiring informed consent for participation
9 in practice or competition; requiring removal from
10 practice or competition under certain circumstances
11 and written medical clearance to return; providing an
12 effective date.
13
14 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
15
16 Section 1. Paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) are added to
17 subsection (2) of section 943.0438, Florida Statutes, to read:
18 943.0438 Athletic coaches for independent sanctioning
19 authorities.—
20 (2) An independent sanctioning authority shall:
21 (e) Adopt guidelines to educate athletic coaches,
22 officials, administrators, youth athletes, and their parents or
23 guardians of the nature and risk of concussion and head injury.
24 (f) Adopt bylaws or policies that require the parent or
25 guardian of a youth who is participating in athletic competition
26 or who is a candidate for an athletic team to sign and return an
27 informed consent that explains the nature and risk of concussion
28 and head injury, including the risk of continuing to play after
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hb0291-00
FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HB 291 2012
29 concussion or head injury, each year before participating in
30 athletic competition or engaging in any practice, tryout,
31 workout, or other physical activity associated with the youth’s
32 candidacy for an athletic team.
33 (g) Adopt bylaws or policies that require each youth
34 athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head
35 injury in a practice or competition to be immediately removed
36 from the activity. A youth athlete who has been removed from an
37 activity may not return to practice or competition until the
38 youth receives written medical clearance to return stating that
39 the youth athlete no longer exhibits signs, symptoms, or
40 behaviors consistent with a concussion or other head injury.
41 Medical clearance must be authorized by the appropriate health
42 care professional trained in the diagnosis, evaluation, and
43 management of concussions as defined by the Sports Medicine
44 Advisory Committee of the Florida High School Athletic
45 Association.
46 Section 2. Paragraphs (e), (f), and (g) are added to
47 subsection (2) of section 1006.20, Florida Statutes, to read:
48 1006.20 Athletics in public K-12 schools.—
49 (2) ADOPTION OF BYLAWS.—
50 (e) The organization shall adopt guidelines to educate
51 athletic coaches, officials, administrators, student athletes,
52 and their parents of the nature and risk of concussion and head
53 injury.
54 (f) The organization shall adopt bylaws or policies that
55 require the parent of a student who is participating in
56 interscholastic athletic competition or who is a candidate for
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FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HB 291 2012
57 an interscholastic athletic team to sign and return an informed
58 consent that explains the nature and risk of concussion and head
59 injury, including the risk of continuing to play after
60 concussion or head injury, each year before participating in
61 interscholastic athletic competition or engaging in any
62 practice, tryout, workout, or other physical activity associated
63 with the student’s candidacy for an interscholastic athletic
64 team.
65 (g) The organization shall adopt bylaws or policies that
66 require each student athlete who is suspected of sustaining a
67 concussion or head injury in a practice or competition to be
68 immediately removed from the activity. A student athlete who has
69 been removed from an activity may not return to practice or
70 competition until the student receives written medical clearance
71 to return stating that the student athlete no longer exhibits
72 signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion or
73 other head injury. Medical clearance must be authorized by the
74 appropriate health care professional trained in the diagnosis,
75 evaluation, and management of concussions as defined by the
76 Sports Medicine Advisory Committee of the Florida High School
77 Athletic Association.
78 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.
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Health Regulation Committee Testimony Speech

Thank you Chairman Garcia and fellow members of the Health Regulation Committee. I am here today to urge you to pass Senate Bill 256 unamended, for it is a cost-free bill that will protect the youth athletes of Florida from brain injury.

My name is David Goldstein and I am an eleventh grader from Miami who has suffered three concussions in soccer. I know first-hand how damaging brain injury can be. After my most recent concussion, which was caused by a head-to-head collision, I was symptomatic for over three months. I was sensitive to light and sound, my balance was distorted, I was depressed, and my head hurt so badly that I had to sleep in the nurse’s office every day in order to be able to get through school.

Though I experienced an ordeal, I consider myself lucky relative to the horror stories that are caused by head trauma. Even though I had previously suffered two concussions, I kept on playing after my most recent concussion because I did not know the potentially catastrophic effects that could occur if I received a second impact to my head. I now know that if I had been hit a second time after my concussion, I could have ended up with permanent brain damage or even dead. Impact from a second blow to the head right after an initial hit and repeated blows to the head are the two main causes of severe brain injury in youth athletes. I would quickly like to tell the story of one of Senator Sobel’s constituents, Daniel Brett. Daniel was a football player who experienced severe brain trauma. Last Spring, Daniel’s suffering from his brain injury drove
him to take his own life at the age of sixteen.

Spreading concussion education, awareness, and protection is essential for the welfare of the youth athletes of Florida. Sports is my passion and is an amazing tool for instilling responsibility and maturity in kids. We need to make the youth athletic environment as safe as possible. This bill will do so by removing youth athletes from practice and competition if they are under suspicion of having suffered a head injury and by keeping them out of practice and competition until they are fully healed. The duration of recovery time varies from athlete to athlete and can be as short as a matter of days, but its is crucial that youth athletes do not return too soon to play if they have suffered from head injury. With Florida being a large population state and an active state in terms of youth athletics, youth athletes in our state would benefit significantly from the protections this legislation will afford them.

I would now quickly like to respond to some of Senator Jones’ points. My family frequently visits an exceptional chiropractor. She is a true healer. Even though she is a fantastic chiropractor, I would not feel comfortable with her handling my concussion situation, having endured three concussions. When I asked her if she would feel comfortable, she said no as well. Secondly, you mentioned how chiropractors take care of many automobile accident victims who suffer concussions. The fact, though, is that these are not athletic injuries in which return to play decisions and second impact syndrome are concerns. These are key distinctions between recovering from an automobile accident and an athletic injury.

Thank you very much for your time, and once again, I urge you to pass Senate Bill 256 unamended.

Blog Update

On Wednesday, December 7, I went to Tallahassee to promote Senate Bill 256, the bill that calls for establishing guidelines to spread concussion education, awareness, and management. I met with several state senators, telling them my story and expressing to them why they should vote for the no-cost, essential legislation that will protect the youth athletes of Florida. I also spoke in front of the Senate Health Regulation Committee in support of the bill, and the bill passed the committee unanimously. My speech can be found in the Updates section. Senator Jones, who opposed the legislation last year and caused it to not pass, was on the committee. Though it turned to be against the procedure of the Committee, I was ready to respond to his criticisms of my speech. That a seventeen year old kid who had experienced concussions was eager to confront Senator Jones I believe shows that Senator Jones will be facing a fight from a group that is very committed to passing this legislation unamended so that the kids of our state will be better protected and will have their care in the correct hands. Hopefully it is a fight that we will win. As I did this spring, I learned a lot from my trip to Tallahassee. My dad always tells me that it is a major civics lesson every time I go up there, and I agree. My trip was successful in that the bill passed the committee and that it was very educational for me. Hopefully my future trips to Tallahassee will continue to yield positive results.