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What is New York’s Concussion Management and Awareness Act?

The State of New York mandated school districts to implement procedures to assist students who are suspected of suffering a concussion in school athletics or participating in any school-sponsored activities, including athletics.

The state’s commissioners of education and health are required to develop rules and regulations addressing these concussions. School districts have to consider concussions suffered outside school-related activities in addressing this problem, according to this law.

Coaches, physical education teachers, school nurse and athletic trainers must complete a training course, including video courses, every two years under the law. The course has to include instruction defining a concussion, the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury and guidelines governing a student’s return to participation in activities after receiving a head injury.

The regulations also require that school districts provide information on concussions and TBI in any parent or guardian form for a student’s participation in student athletics. This information will also have to be posted on designated websites.

Districts must immediately stop a student from participating in any athletic activities if there is a suspected concussion. Any doubts must be resolved on the side that the student suffered this injury. Students may not resume athletic activities unless they were symptom free for 24 hours, received an evaluation from a physician and received the doctor’s signed authorization clearing them. Participation in school activities have to comply with any restrictions directed by the treating physician.

School districts may also establish a concussion management team comprised of health professionals and athletic staff to implement the rules and regulations under this law. Districts may implement a program to inform parents and guardians on concussions. Districts can arrange for medical personnel to attend athletic events in case a student suffers a concussion.

As this law shows, school districts may be liable for concussions and other brain injuries suffered by students where a district did not comply with this law or establish policies and procedures that protect students. Victims of these injuries and their families should seek prompt legal advice to help assure that their rights to compensation for this potentially-debilitating injury are protected.