On March 22, 2011, Colorado governor signed the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act into law. It will take effect January 1, 2012.
The law is named after Jake Snakenberg, a high school football player who died in 2004, likely from a rare but often fatal condition called second impact syndrome in which an athlete suffers a second brain injury before his brain has healed from an earlier concussion.
- Broad coverage:
- The law covers athletes ages 11 through 19. (The law is the first in the country to extend coverage to athletes below middle school; on April 7, 2011, Iowa became the second).
- The law covers public and private middle, junior high, and high schools and private youth sports clubs and leagues.
- Education: Public and private school coaches and volunteer coaches for private youth sports clubs must complete an annual concussion education course with the following components:
- information on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion;
- the need for obtaining proper medical attention for a person suspected of having a concussion.
- information on the nature and risk of concussions, including the danger of continuing to play after sustaining a concussion and the proper method of allowing a youth athlete who has sustained a concussion to return to athletic activity.
- Removal from and return to play
- Youth athletes suspected by coaches to have sustained a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body must be immediately removed from the game, competition, or practice;
- If removed, and the signs or symptoms cannot be "readily explained by a condition other than concussion," the athlete's parent or legal guardian shall be notified; and
- No return to play or participate in any supervised team activities involving physical exertion until after being evaluated by and receives written clearance to play by a paid or volunteer health care provider with training in neuropsychology or concussion evaluation and management.
- After an athlete has been evaluated and received clearance to return to play, a registered athletic trainer with specific knowledge of the athlete's condition may manage the athlete's graduated return to play.
Posted March 31, 2011