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15 July 2011

Mayer: Legislation Protecting Student Athletes Enacted Into Law

Measure Addressing Brain Injuries Handled by Senate Leader

JEFFERSON CITY – Young athletes will now have better protections from life-altering brain injuries with the recent signing of House Bill 300, ushered through the upper chamber of the Legislature by Senate Leader Robert N. Mayer, R-Dexter.

“Studies have shown that certain brain injuries are the result of young athletes continuing to play a sport after they have suffered a concussion,” said Sen. Mayer. “This vital legislation provides much-needed restrictions on those athletes who have suffered a head injury during a sporting event and important information for players, parents and coaches regarding this serious issue.”

Under the legislation, known as the “Interscholastic Youth Sports Injury Prevention Act,” student athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion or brain injury must stop play for at least 24 hours and cannot return to the activity without written permission from a medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. Also, a student athlete’s guardian would be required to sign a concussion and brain injury information sheet prior to his or her participation in any practice or competition.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million sport-related concussions occur annually in the United States. Of all the serious head injuries reported, 18.2 percent of those were sports-related concussions. In high school athletics, approximately 8.9 percent of all injuries were concussions.

House Bill 300 also requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to work with school boards, the Missouri State High School Activities Association, and an organization that provides support services for brain injuries to implement educational information for youth athletes on the risks of concussions and other brain injuries. These groups must develop guidelines and forms to help educate coaches, student athletes, and their guardians regarding the nature and risks of concussion and other brain injuries by the end of this year. In addition, the materials must include information on what happens to an athlete if he or she continues to play after a concussion.

“Former linebacker for the 1999 World Champion St. Louis Rams and current Lincoln University Head Football Coach Mike Jones testified in support of this legislation during its hearing back in May,” said Sen. Mayer. “Experienced athletes and medical professionals shared the dangers of traumatic head injuries, including concussions. It’s important that we educate and protect student athletes from the risks of devastating head injuries. With this legislation’s enactment into law, our coaches, athletes and guardians will know the symptoms of a concussion and be able to stop further harm to these young Missourians before it’s too late.”

The Interscholastic Youth Sports Injury Prevention Act will take effect Aug. 28. To see a complete list of bills handled by Sen. Mayer, visit

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