Sports Concussion Legislation

Concussion, a form of mild traumatic brain injury, is a public health issue that occurs in 1.1-1.9 million individuals under 18 years of age every year in the United States (Bryan MA, 2016). The Centers for Disease Control report that approximately 280,000 children are seen in U.S. emergency departments annually for sports or recreation-related traumatic brain injury. The numbers themselves reflect the need for preventive measures and education. California has passed two legislations specifically in response to this need: Assembly Bill 2127 (AB2127) and Assembly Bill 2007 (AB2007).

AB2127 was passed in 2014 by Governor Jerry Brown. The law prior to the passing of this assembly bill required school districts that offered athletic programs to immediately remove an athlete from the remainder of the day’s activities if there was a suspicion of a concussion or an injury. It further prohibited the athlete from returning to play until they were seen and received a written clearance from a licensed healthcare provider. Annual information sheets were also required to be signed and returned by athletes and their parent/guardian before participation in practices and competitions.

The passing of AB2127 provided for several amendments to the then existing law, most notably for athletes who were deemed to have sustained a concussion or a head injury to be seen by a healthcare provider specifically trained in the management of concussions and acting within the scope of their practice. Furthermore, if the athlete is deemed by the healthcare provider as having sustained a concussion or head injury, a gradual return-to-play protocol with a minimum of 7 days must be completed under the supervision of the provider.

AB2007 was later approved in 2016 by Governor Brown with respect to youth athletes and sports organizations as it related to concussions or other head injuries. Provisions from this bill included the following:

  • Youth sports organizations to notify parents or guardians of minors who have been removed from athletics due to suspected concussions,
  • Coaches and administrators of youth sports organizations to annually receive head injury education and/or related educational materials
  • Annual concussion and head injury education course to be completed by aforementioned coaches and administrators, and
  • Have a procedure in place to ensure compliance for aforementioned educational requirements

Lastly, procedures are required to ensure athlete removal and return-to-play protocol. This bill “would specify that it applies to all persons participating in the activities of a youth sports organization, irrespective of their ages.”

Additional resources for concussions can be found here.