Rep Stinziano Presents Sponsor Testimony, Urges Senate Passage of Youth Concussion Bill

Columbus, OH - State Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) presented the following testimony today before the Ohio Senate Health, Human Services, and Aging Committee urging passage of HB 143.

Ohio Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Aging

H.B. 143 Sponsor Testimony

State Representative Michael Stinziano

Chairman Oelslager, Vice Chair Burke, and members of the Health, Human Services and Aging Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide sponsor testimony on HB 143.

Millions of young athletes participate in organized sports in this country every year and, as a result, emergency rooms are dealing with a growing number of sports-related concussions. As you may know, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can occur in any sport or recreation activity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 135,000 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, among children. In Ohio, the number of young athletes visiting emergency rooms for sports-related TBIs from 2002 to 2009 has increased 142 percent according to figures provided by the Ohio Department of Health. With the significant increase in the number of sports-related TBIs, it is essential for coaches, referees, parents, and all of our young athletes throughout Ohio to learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion and what to do when such signs and symptoms occur.

Due to the critical nature of the issue and the consequences we face if we do not act, Representative O’Brien and I introduced H.B. 143 to make Ohio the 29th state to effectively address this important public health issue.

Our bill would:

  • Require any youth coach or referee, including those in schools and youth sports organizations, to remove from practice or play any athlete suspected of sustaining a concussion
  • Require every youth coach and referee to successfully complete a course in youth concussion management every three years.       A free online training course will be required as part of the pupil-activity program permit.
  • Prohibit the athlete from returning to play until the athlete’s condition is assessed by a physician authorized under Chapter 4731 of the Revised Code to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery, and receives written clearance that it is safe to return to practice or competition from a physician or from another licensed health care provider who is acting in consultation with a physician.

Our legislation is similar to the rules already in place by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), however, unlike their rules, our legislation would require specific training for coaches on recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion.   In addition, HB 143 would apply the same standards to coaches and athletes participating in a youth sports organization that is not directly affiliated with the OHSAA.

Our legislation will educate parents and coaches while protecting our youth athletes all at no cost to the state, parents, or coaches. With this legislation, we will take another step towards making Ohio the best place to live, work, and raise a family in the country.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.