On July 13, 2011, Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed into law H.B. 300, 334, and 387, titled the "Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act." Missouri was the twenty-fifth state to enact strong youth sports concussion safety legislation since the Washington State's groundbreaking Zackery Lystedt Law was enacted in May 2009 (the number is up to 31 plus the District of Columbia as of January 2, 2012).
Like the laws in twenty-four other states, the Missouri law contains three key components, requiring:
- Immediate removal if concussion suspected: A youth athlete suspected of having sustained a concussion or brain injury in a practice or game must be immediately removed from competition and not allowed to return for at least 24 hours;
- No return to play without written clearance. Once removed from play, a youth athlete may not return to competition until he has been (a) evaluated by a health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussion; and (b) receives written clearance to return from that health care provider.
- Continuing concussion education. School district must distribute a concussion and brain injury information sheet to each youth athlete participating in its athletic program on a yearly basis, which the athlete's parent or guardian must sign and return to the school district in order for the athlete to be able to participate in interscholastic sports.
In addition, the Missouri law requires:
- The development, no later than December 31, 2011, by a task force of government agencies and school districts to promulgate rules, guidelines, educational materials and forms to educate coaches, youth athletes, and parents about the nature and risk of concussion, including continuing to play after concussion or brain injury, with the primary focus on the safety and protection against long-term injury.
- Publication of an annual report detailing efforts to minimize injuries (not just concussions, but all injuries) sustained by athletes participating in interscholastic sports in the state.
Posted July 17, 2011; revised January 2, 2012