An Act concerning the health of student-athletes and supplementing P.L.1984, c.203 (C.45:9-37.35 et seq.) and chapter 40 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
C.18A:40-41.1 Findings, declarations relative to head injuries of student athletes.
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. A concussion is caused by a blow or motion to the head or body that disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, and can cause significant and sustained neuropsychological impairments including, but not limited to, problem solving, planning, memory, and behavioral problems;
b. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300,000 concussions are sustained during sports-related activity in the United States, and more than 62,000 concussions are sustained each year in high-school contact sports;
c. Although concussions are one of the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and recreational activities, little effort and resources have been committed to inform athletes, coaches, and parents and guardians about the causes and symptoms of concussions;
d. If a person sustains a second concussion while still having symptoms of a previous concussion, it can lead to the severe impairment and even the death of the victim, and is referred to as second-impact syndrome; and
e. In order to ensure the safety of student-athletes, it is imperative that athletes, coaches, and parents and guardians are educated about the nature and treatment of concussions and other sports-related head injuries, and that all measures are taken to prevent a student-athlete from experiencing second-impact syndrome.
C.18A:40-41.2 Interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program.
2. a. The Department of Education shall work to develop and implement, by the 2011-2012 school year, an interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program. The program shall be completed by a school physician, a person who coaches a public school district or nonpublic school interscholastic sport, and an athletic trainer involved in a public or nonpublic school interscholastic sports program. The safety training program shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:
(1) the recognition of the symptoms of head and neck injuries, concussions, and injuries related to second-impact syndrome; and
(2) the appropriate amount of time to delay the return to sports competition or practice of a student-athlete who has sustained a concussion or other head injury.
b. The department shall update the safety training program as necessary to ensure that it reflects the most current information available on the nature, risk, and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries.
c. The department shall develop an educational fact sheet that provides information about sports-related concussions and other head injuries. A school district or a nonpublic school that participates in an interscholastic sports program shall distribute the educational fact sheet annually to the parents or guardians of student-athletes and shall obtain a signed acknowledgment of the receipt of the fact sheet by the student-athlete and his parent or guardian.
C.18A:40-41.3 Written policy for school district concerning prevention, treatment of sports-related head injuries.
3. a. Each school district shall develop a written policy concerning the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes. The policy shall include, but need not be limited to, the procedure to be followed when it is suspected that a student-athlete has sustained a concussion or other head injury. When developing the district policy, a school district shall review the model policy established by the Commissioner of Education pursuant to subsection b. of this section, the policies established by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the recommendations made by the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey Concussion in Sports Steering Committee, the Athletic Trainers’ Society of New Jersey, and other organizations with expertise in the area of preventing or treating sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes. Each school district shall implement the policy by the 2011-2012 school year.
The policy shall be reviewed annually, and updated as necessary, by the district to ensure that it reflects the most current information available on the prevention, risk, and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries.
b. To assist school districts in developing policies concerning the prevention and treatment of sports-related concussions and other head injuries among student-athletes, the Commissioner of Education shall develop a model policy applicable to grades kindergarten through 12. This model policy shall be issued no later than March 31, 2011.
C.18A:40-41.4 Removal of student athlete from competition, practice; return.
4. A student who participates in an interscholastic sports program and who sustains or is suspected of having sustained a concussion or other head injury while engaged in a sports competition or practice shall be immediately removed from the sports competition or practice. A student-athlete who is removed from competition or practice shall not participate in further sports activity until he is evaluated by a physician or other licensed healthcare provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, and receives written clearance from a physician trained in the evaluation and management of concussions to return to competition or practice.
C.18A:40-41.5 Immunity from liability.
5. a. A school district and nonpublic school shall not be liable for the injury or death of a person due to the action or inaction of persons employed by, or under contract with, a youth sports team organization that operates on school grounds, if the youth sports team organization provides the district or nonpublic school, as applicable, with the following:
(1) proof of an insurance policy of an amount of not less than $50,000 per person, per occurrence insuring the youth sports team organization against liability for any bodily injury suffered by a person; and
(2) a statement of compliance with the school district or nonpublic school’s policies for the management of concussions and other head injuries.
b. As used in this section, a “youth sports team organization” means one or more sports teams organized pursuant to a nonprofit or similar charter or which are member teams in a league organized by or affiliated with a county or municipal recreation department.
C.45:9-37.48a Continuing education requirement for athletic trainer.
6. a. The State Board of Medical Examiners shall require each person licensed as an athletic trainer, as a condition for biennial license renewal pursuant to section 14 of P.L.1984, c.203 (C.45:9-37.48), to complete 24 credits of continuing athletic trainer education, which shall include a specific number of credits of instruction on topics related to concussions and head injuries, as determined by the State Board of Medical Examiners.
b. The board shall:
(1) establish standards for continuing athletic trainer education, including the subject matter and content of courses of study; and
(2) accredit education programs offering credit toward continuing athletic trainer education requirements or recognize national or State organizations that may accredit education programs.
c. Each hour of an educational course or program shall be equivalent to one credit of continuing athletic trainer education.
d. The board may, in its discretion, waive requirements for continuing athletic trainer education on an individual basis for reasons of hardship such as illness or disability, retirement of license, or other good cause. A waiver shall apply only to the current biennial renewal period at the time of board issuance.
e. The board shall not require completion of continuing athletic trainer education credits for any licensure period commencing within 12 months of the effective date of this section.
f. The board shall require completion of athletic trainer education credits on a pro-rated basis for any registration period commencing more than 12 months but less than 24 months from the effective date of this section.
g. Prior to license renewal, each licensee shall submit to the board proof of completion of the required number of hours of continuing athletic trainer education.
7. Sections 1 through 5 of this act shall take effect immediately and section 6 shall take effect on the 360th day after the date of enactment.
Approved December 7, 2010.