Gov. Quinn signs concussion awareness bill

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation to help reduce and prevent concussions among high school athletes. The law requires training on concussion awareness and reduction for high school athletic directors and coaches. The action is part of Gov. Quinn’s agenda to protect and improve the health of the people of Illinois.

“Sports play a big role in the lives of many young people across our state,” Quinn said. “While we want to ensure all children have the opportunity to play sports, we must also protect the health of our young athletes from potentially life-changing damage.”

House Bill 5431, sponsored by State Rep. Carol Sente, D-Lincolnshire, and State Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, requires the Illinois High School Association to develop and implement an online training program on concussion awareness and reduction for all coaching personnel and athletic directors.

The legislation was written in response to recent increases in concussions among adolescents, especially student athletes.

“We appreciate the confidence Gov. Quinn and Rep. Sente placed in the IHSA to work with respected medical professionals to develop and administer a top-tier program,” IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said.

The online training will focus on concussion recognition and prevention, what to do when a player may have a concussion and education on the long-term effects of repetitive head trauma. Completion of the training and certification will be mandatory for all high school coaching staff. Student athletes will also receive concussion awareness education. The law goes into effect immediately.

“Today, we know more about the negative impact concussions have on student athletes than ever before,” Kotowski said. “We have to ensure that coaches are informed about the consequences of traumatic head injuries and take steps to reduce their frequency and keep our kids safe.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a concussion can result from a blow to the head or body which causes the head to move violently. It is a type of traumatic brain injury.

Earlier this month, Quinn signed legislation strengthening the Young Adult Heroin Use Task Force originally created by the governor and the General Assembly in 2013 to address the growing problem of heroin use in Illinois high schools.

This year, the governor signed legislation allowing trained school personnel to administer potentially life-saving epinephrine injections to help against serious allergic reactions. In June he signed a law that requires CPR and automated external defibrillator training for students in all Illinois high schools.