The Concussion Law
On April 2, 2012, Gov. Scott Walker signed the Wisconsin Concussion Law.
The law requires immediate removal of an individual from a youth athletic activity if symptoms indicate a possible concussion has been sustained. Subsequently, if a concussion is confirmed, individuals may only return to competition or practice after being evaluated by a trained health care provider. The health care provider is required to provide written clearance in order for the athlete to return to action.
The law requires all youth athletic organizations to educate coaches, student-athletes and parents on the risks of concussions and prohibits participation in a youth activity until a parent or guardian has returned a signed information sheet indicating they have reviewed the materials. In addition, the state Department of Public Instruction was directed to develop guidelines and other information to educate coaches, athletes and parents about the risk of concussions and head injuries in all youth sports, including club sports.
The law also includes provisions to protect coaches, officials or volunteers from liability if they fail to remove an athlete from competition, unless there is gross negligence or gross misconduct.
Section 1. 118.293 of the statutes is created to read:
118.293 Concussion and head injury. (1) In this section:
(a) "Credential" means a license or certificate of certification issued by this state.
(am) "Health care provider" means a person to whom all of the following apply:
1. He or she holds a credential that authorizes the person to provide health care.
2. He or she is trained and has experience in evaluating and managing pediatric concussions and head injuries.
3. He or she is practicing within the scope of his or her credential.
(c) "Youth athletic activity" means an organized athletic activity in which the participants, a majority of whom are under 19 years of age, are engaged in an athletic game or competition against another team, club, or entity, or in practice or preparation for an organized athletic game or competition against another team, club, or entity. "Youth athletic activity" does not include a college or university activity or an activity that is incidental to a nonathletic program.
(2) In consultation with the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, the department shall develop guidelines and other information for the purpose of educating athletic coaches and pupil athletes and their parents or guardians about the nature and risk of concussion and head injury in youth athletic activities.
(3) At the beginning of a season for a youth athletic activity, the person operating the youth athletic activity shall distribute a concussion and head injury information sheet to each person who will be coaching that youth athletic activity and to each person who wishes to participate in that youth athletic activity. No person may participate in a youth athletic activity unless the person returns the information sheet signed by the person and, if he or she is under the age of 19, by his or her parent or guardian.
(4) (a) An athletic coach, or official involved in a youth athletic activity, or health care provider shall remove a person from the youth athletic activity if the coach, official, or health care provider determines that the person exhibits signs, symptoms, or behavior consistent with a concussion or head injury or the coach, official, or health care provider suspects the person has sustained a concussion or head injury.
(b) A person who has been removed from a youth athletic activity under par. (a) may not participate in a youth athletic activity until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives a written clearance to participate in the activity from the health care provider.
(5) (a) Any athletic coach, official involved in an athletic activity, or volunteer who fails to remove a person from a youth athletic activity under sub. (4) (a) is immune from civil liability for any injury resulting from that omission unless it constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
(b) Any volunteer who authorizes a person to participate in a youth athletic activity under sub. (4) (b) is immune from civil liability for any injury resulting from that act unless the act constitutes gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
(6) This section does not create any liability for, or a cause of action against, any person.
Concussion Law - Act 172 - Statute 118.293