Bears Commend Concussion Legislation

The Chicago Bears offer public support of the recently passed law to protect Illinois student-athletes from preventable concussion injuries.

The Chicago Bears today commended the Illinois General Assembly on its timely passage of House Bill 200, youth concussion legislation co-authored by House Minority Leader Tom Cross (Oswego) and State Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago). The bipartisan legislation unanimously passed both chambers and marks the first comprehensive state law seeking to address the growing concerns over concussion injuries and their prevention in youth sports.

"We congratulate Leader Cross and Senator Raoul for their efforts and tireless work in successfully bringing this important issue to the forefront," said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. "The Bears commend the General Assembly for recognizing the steps that must be taken to further protect Illinois children and young student-athletes from preventable concussions and other brain injuries."

House Bill 200 would make it mandatory for all school boards in the state to work with the Illinois High School Association to develop clear guidelines to educate coaches, student athletes and their parents, including:

• Requiring all school boards to adopt a policy regarding student athlete concussions and head injuries, and ensuring that policy be in compliance with the protocols, policies, and by-laws of the Illinois High School Association.

• Information on the school board's concussion and head injury policy must be a part of any agreement, contract, code, or other written instrument that a school district requires a student athlete and his or her parents or guardian to sign before participating in practice or interscholastic competition.

• The Illinois High School Association shall make available to all school districts, including elementary school districts, education materials, such as visual presentations and other written materials, that describe the nature and risk of concussions and head injuries.

In concert with this legislation, on April 19th, The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors approved the new policy regarding return to play guidelines after a student-athlete has been diagnosed with a concussion.

The new Policy now reads: "In cases when an athlete is not cleared to return to play the same day as he/she is removed from a contest following a possible head injury (i.e., concussion), the athlete shall not return to play or practice until the athlete is evaluated by and receives written clearance from a licensed health care provider to return to play. "

House Bill 200 was supported by the Chicago Bears, Northwestern Hospital and the Illinois High School Athletic Association together with other interested groups. The bill now heads to Governor Quinn for his approval.

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