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High School Sports Safety: California Poised To Jump on the Bandwagon

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A new day, a new state high school sports safety bill.

Or so it seems.

Last week, it was the state of Washington passing bills to improve concussion safety by requiring pre-season concussion education of athletes and parents, and adoption of the strictest return-to-play concussion guidelines in the country. The bill awaits the governor's signature.

On Tuesday, Kentucky governor Steve Beshear signed into law a safety bill requiring all high school coaches in the state to complete a 10-hour sports first-aid and sports-safety training course and pass an exam before the 2009-2010 school year and the presence of at least one coach with training in emergency planning, heat and cold illnesses, head, neck and facial injuries and first aid at every youth sports practice or game.

Yesterday, it was California's turn to try to jump on the high school sports safety bandwagon. I received an e-mail from the Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi about a bill (AB 533) she had recently introduced into the California state assembly which would require each high school sports coach in California complete a coaching education program that includes training in recognizing and managing the signs and symptoms of potentially catastrophic injuries, including but not limited to: head and neck injuries, concussions, second impact syndrome, asthma attacks, heatstroke, and sudden cardiac arrest; emergency action planning; and communicating effectively with 911 emergency services. The bill will receive its first policy hearing before the Assembly's Education Committee on April 1, 2009.

As someone who has been fighting for years for youth sports safety, these legislative developments are heartening. While, as I said in previous blogs on the Washington and Kentucky laws that they don't go far enough, and while the same is true of the California bill, now isn't the time to complain: it is the time to get excited about seeing youth sports safety issues getting the attention they deserves.

There is much work to do, but, for now, it is time for me to give a big MomsTeam shout out to the Washington and Kentucky legislatures and to California Assembleywoman Hayashi for what they are doing to help keep our kids safe. My message to rest of the country's legislatures: c'mon! Get on board, too!