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California Enacts Expanded Youth Sports Concussion Law

kids playing football; concussion risksNationwide reports continue to demonstrate that many serious head injuries including concussions are a direct consequence of injured athletes returning to play too soon. In an attempt to make sports safer and reduce the number of concussion injuries, California broadened its existing “return to play” legislation, effective January 1, 2017.

The amended law will apply to all athletes under the age of 18 who are participating in youth sports organizations that defined as clubs, competitions or camps. “This bill places California at the forefront of improving concussion management at the youth sports level” offered Mike Chisar of the CA Athletic Trainers’ Association. Chisar added that the youth concussion law, known as AB 2007, will help ensure that coaches, athletes and their families have proper education on the signs and early symptoms of concussion, helping minimize risk of injury.

Under AB 2007, all coaches, athletes and their families must be provided with comprehensive education materials regarding the potential consequences of head injuries, concussion symptoms and recommended practices for removing an athlete after head trauma, as well as measures for their return to sports following a suspected concussion.

Youth sports concussion law expanded in California

The revised youth concussion law entails a number of changes that will affect the operations of youth sports organizations.

  • Athletes who are suspected of suffering from a concussion or head injury must immediately be removed from play
  • Athletes may only return to play after they have received written clearance from a licensed medical provider trained in concussion management.
  • Athletes who have been diagnosed with a concussion must adhere to a gradual return-to-play protocol over a span of 7 days
  • Coaches and sports administrators must complete concussion training before supervising athletes in a sporting activity
  • After an athlete is suspected of suffering a head injury or concussion, their parent or guardian must be notified of the date of injury, symptoms and treatment provided

Amended law affects sports injury liability issues

Given the expanded provisions of AB 2007, youth sports organizations will be held to higher standards of care and duty owed to the safety of young athletes. Any California sports organization or club that fails to offer the required educational information to coaches, athletes and their parents prior to play may face liability in the event a participant is gravely injured or suffers a concussion. If graduated return-to-play protocols are not followed or coaches are not adequately trained to supervise participants, injured athletes could theoretically sue on the basis of negligence.

The Salamati Law Firm applauds any efforts aimed at concussion education and prevention. In recent years, more focus has been put on the severe, long-term health impacts of repeated sports-related concussions and head injuries, which can affect coordination, speech, memory, personality, and cognitive abilities.

Our California injury attorneys are experienced handling all types of claims involving traumatic brain injury and concussion stemming from recreational sports. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who is committed to protecting your rights, call the Salamati Law Firm today.

Resources on California’s Youth Sports Concussion Law: 

  1. American Youth Soccer Organization, Important: New California State Law on Concussions in Affect
  2. California Interscholastic Federation, Concussions
  3. Complete Sports Performance and Rehab, New California Concussion Laws for 2017
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