OAK PARK – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to help reduce and prevent concussions among high school athletes. The law requires training on concussion awareness and reduction for high school athletic directors and coaches. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect and improve the health of the people of Illinois.
"Sports play a big role in the lives of many young people across our state,” Governor Quinn said. “While we want to ensure all children have the opportunity to play sports, we must also protect the health of our young athletes from potentially life-changing damage. This new law will help ensure that coaches will be better prepared to address and prevent concussions among their student athletes.”
House Bill 5431, sponsored by State Representative Carol Sente (D-Lincolnshire) and State Senator Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), requires the Illinois High School Association to develop and implement an online training program on concussion awareness and reduction for all coaching personnel and athletic directors. The legislation was written in response to recent increases in concussions among adolescents, especially student athletes.
“I sponsored House Bill 5431 because I absolutely believe this can make a difference in our schools and help protect more young athletes this coming school season,” Rep. Sente said. “It’s important that our coaches and athletic directors in every sport are certified and they hold discussions with their players so young adults know the effects and potential harm of repetitive concussions and hits to the head.”
“We appreciate the confidence Governor Quinn and Representative Sente placed in the IHSA to work with respected medical professionals to develop and administer a top-tier program,” IHSA executive Director Marty Hickman said. “Risk minimization for student-athletes, especially as it relates to concussions, will continue to be a top priority for the IHSA.”
The online training will focus on concussion recognition and prevention, what to do when a player may have a concussion and education on the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. Completion of the training and certification will be mandatory for all high school coaching staff. Student athletes will also receive concussion awareness education. The law goes into effect immediately.
“Today, we know more about the negative impact concussions have on student athletes than ever before,” Senator Kotowski said. “We have to ensure that coaches are informed about the consequences of traumatic head injuries and take steps to reduce their frequency and keep our kids safe.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a concussion can result from a blow to the head or body which causes the head to move violently. It can affect the athlete mentally or physically, causing light and noise sensitivity, concentration problems or confusion, balance problems and other symptoms. It is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). For more information on recognizing a concussion, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/concussion/sports/recognize.html.
Governor Quinn is committed to protecting and improving the health of young people in Illinois schools. Earlier this month the Governor signed legislation strengthening the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force originally created by the Governor and the General Assembly in 2013 to address the growing problem of heroin use in Illinois High Schools.
This year the Governor signed legislation allowing trained school personnel to administer potentially life-saving epinephrine injections to help against serious allergic reactions. In June he signed a law that requires CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training for students in all Illinois high schools.
In 2013, Governor Quinn convened a School Safety Summit that included more than 50 top experts from across the state to develop short- and long-term actions to further safeguard Illinois schools and signed Rocky’s Law, which required schools to insure student athletes.