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Youth Sport Safety Bill – Rep. Paul Ray
Current Proposed Wording

This bill recognizes best practices toward maintaining a safe environment for Utah’s young athletes and raises awareness of the need for increased youth sports safety. It offers recommendations that any school can implement to make its student athletes safer and encourages secondary schools to take all available and reasonable steps to ensure that safety.

More than 7.7 million high school athletes participate in school sports each year. Among children, those ages 15-17 experience the highest rate of emergency room visits for sports injuries. Prevention of injury is critical because previous history is often a risk factor for future injury. Players with one or more previous injuries have two to three times greater risk of incident injury compared to those without previous injury.

This bill ensures that student athletes will be coached by individuals well-trained in a particular sport; have pre-participation exams, concussion management and emergency action plans in place; as well as safe environmental conditions, equipment and on-site injury assessments, among other protocols.

Secondary school student athletes will:

  1. be coached by individuals who are well-trained in sport-specific safety and to be monitored by athletic health care team members;

  2. have quality, regular pre-participation examinations and each athlete will participate under a comprehensive concussion management plan;

  3. participate in sporting activities on safe, clean playing surfaces, in both indoor and outdoor facilities;

  4. utilize equipment and uniforms that are safe, fitted appropriately, and routinely maintained, and appropriate personnel trained in proper removal of equipment in case of injury are available in case of injury;

  5. participate safely in all environmental conditions where play follows approved guidelines and medical policies and procedures, with a hydration plan in place;

  6. have a safe playing environment with venue-specific emergency action plans that are coordinated by the athletic health care team and regularly rehearsed with local emergency personnel;

  7. have the privacy of their health information maintained at all times and have proper referral for medical, psychosocial, and nutritional counseling;

  8. participate in a culture that finds ‘‘playing through pain’’ unacceptable unless there has been a medical assessment;

  9. have ** access to qualified sports medicine professionals for on-site injury assessments that are documented; and (** the word immediate has been removed**)

  10. have, along with their parents, the updated and accurate information about the benefits and potential risks of participation in competitive sports, including access to statistics on fatalities and catastrophic injuries to youth athletes.

All secondary schools in Utah that host sports teams associated with the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) will submit an annual report to the UHSAA[VH1]  (or equivalent?) by May 1 each year explaining how they meet the youth sport safety guidelines.  If any guidelines have not been met, the school will include a plan explaining how the requirement will be met within one year.


Ideas for youth safety

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