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Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: South Dakota

Among twelve states that now require medical clearance before return to play

On March 17, 2011, South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard signed the state's youth sports concussion safety law.  The state became the tenth to enact such a law since May 2009.

Key provisions

Key provisions of the South Dakota law are as follows:

  • Guidelines/education. The law requires the South Dakota High School Activities Association and the Department of Education to develop guidelines to inform and educate schools, coaches, athletes and parents about the nature and risk of concussion, including continuing to play after sustaining a concussion.
    • Coaches will be required to complete a concussion training program each academic year.
  • Mandatory consent: requires youth athletes and a parent and/or guardian sign and return a concussion and head injury information sheet on a yearly basis before the athlete's first practice or being allowed to compete, including information on:
  • Immediate removal if concussion suspected. Youth athletes exhibiting signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with concussion or suspected of having sustained a concussion in a practice or game must be immediately removed from competition; and
  • Clearance before return to play. Youth athletes who have been taken out of a game because of a suspected concussion are not allowed to return to play until after:
    • no longer experiencing signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion;
    • have been evaluated by a licensed health care provider with specific training in the evaluation and management of concussions
    • receiving written clearance to return to play from that health care provider (note: this does not strictly bar same day return to play).
  • Legal immunity: The law does not create any liability for, or create any cause of action against, a school, school district, or any offer or employee of a school or school district.
For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on concussions in youth sports, click here.


Posted March 22, 2011; revised January 2, 2012
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