Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Thursday announced the signing of a bill that will help protect student-athletes all across the state from concussions and brain injuries.
House Bill 200: Protecting Our Student Athletes Act goes into effect immediately will help protect student athletes who suffer concussions or other injuries by not allowing them to return to their sport until they receive a medical evaluation and a written letter of clearance from a doctor or other licensed healthcare professional saying that they can return.
Similarly, the bill also promotes the use of educational materials to teach student athletes, coaches, and parents about the nature and risk of head injuries. The materials, which can now be distributed by park districts, will also explain how to identify a concussion and other head injuries. The Illinois High School Association will also be working with school districts, from elementary through high school, to distribute these materials.
The Chicago Tribune reported the governor signed the bill in Chicago. The law has received a significant amount of support from school athletic directors since it puts all school districts on the same page when it comes to head injury safety of their student athletes. However, some are worried that school districts don’t have the funding to pay for trained school staff to further monitor student-athletes.
Gov. Quinn said, “The desire to compete must never trump the safety of our student athletes. This new law will ensure that student-athletes, parents and coaches recognize the symptoms and understand the risks of concussions, so that they can prevent a more serious, lasting injury.”
State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, also praised the bill and the safety it would offer Illinois’ student athletes. Sen. Raoul said, “We have seen too many disturbing stories about the long-term negative impact of concussions. From junior football to youth hockey, from girls’ basketball or soccer to gymnastics, this new law will help make sure that young athletes are better protected from potentially life-altering head injuries.”
The text of the bill notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are up to 3.9 million sports-related and recreation-related concussions in the U.S. every year. The risk of further injury and even death increase dramatically when concussions or head injuries are not properly evaluated or managed.
House Bill 200 was primarily sponsored by State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Plainfield, and State Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago. It was first introduced on Jan. 1 before being passed in both the House and Senate on May 29. The bill was finally sent to Gov. Quinn on June 3.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.