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Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: New Jersey

New Jersey's youth sports concussion safety law went into effect on December 7, 2010.

The key provisions of the New Jersey law:

  • Education and mandatory training: 
    • the state Department of Education must work to develop and implement by the 2011-2012 school year an interscholastic athletic head injury training program which must be completed by school physicians, all those who coach a public or private school interscholastic sport, and athletic trainers involved in a public or private interscholastic school program, and update the program as necessary to ensure that it reflects the most current information available on the nature, risk and treatment of sports-related concussion and other head injuries.
    • The program must include, at minimum, education on recognition of symptoms of head and neck injuries, concussions and injuiries related to second-impact syndrome and the appropriate amount of time to delay the return to sports competition or practice after concussion.
Informed consent to play: requires the Department of Education to develop an educational fact sheet about sports-related concussion and other head injuries to distribute to to parents and/or guardians of student-athletes and obtain a signed acknowledgement of the receipt of such fact sheet by the student-athlete and his parent or guardian on a yearly basis;
  • Immediate removal if concussion suspected: Youth athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion in a practice or game must be immediately removed from competition; and
  • Return to play after medical clearance: Youth athletes who have been taken out of a game or practice because of a suspected concussion are not be allowed to return to play until after the athlete has been evaluated by a physician or other licensed health care provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions; and the athlete has received written clearance to return to practice and competition from a physician trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.
  • Immunity from liability. School districts and private schools will be immune from liability for injury or death of a person due to the action or inaction of persons employed by or under contract with a youth sports team organization that operates on school grounds if the youth sports team organization provides the district or private school with (a) proof of insurance in an amount not less than $50,000 per person, per occurrence; and (b) a statement of compliance with the school district or private school's policies for management of concussions and other head injuries.
Update: The New Jersey Department of Education has since adopted a model concussion policy which includes first-in-the-nation recommendations that concussed student-athletes be provided academic accommodations when returning to the classroom.

Revised February 17, 2012