Home » Health & Safety Channel » Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: Colorado

Youth Sports Concussion Safety Laws: Colorado

First in nation to extend coverage to athletes as young as 11



On March 22, 2011, Colorado governor signed the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act into law.  It will take effect January 1, 2012.

The law is named after Jake Snakenberg, a high school football player who died in 2004, likely from a rare but often fatal condition called second impact syndrome in which an athlete suffers a second brain injury before his brain has healed from an earlier concussion.

Most sweeping

Key provisions of the Colorado law, the most sweeping of its kind of the thirteen laws passed by states since Washington State's historic Zackery Lystedt law in May 2009, are as follows:

  • Broad coverage: 
    • The law covers athletes ages 11 through 19.  (The law is the first in the country to extend coverage to athletes below middle school; on April 7, 2011, Iowa became the second).
    • The law covers public and private middle, junior high, and high schools and private youth sports clubs and leagues.
  • Education: Public and private school coaches and volunteer coaches for private youth sports clubs must complete an annual concussion education course with the following components:
  • Removal from and return to play
    • Youth athletes suspected by coaches to have sustained a concussion following an observed or suspected blow to the head or body must be immediately removed from the game, competition, or practice;
    • If removed, and the signs or symptoms cannot be "readily explained by a condition other than concussion," the athlete's parent or legal guardian shall be notified; and
    • No return to play or participate in any supervised team activities involving physical exertion until after being evaluated by and receives written clearance to play by a paid or volunteer health care provider with training in neuropsychology or concussion evaluation and management.
    • After an athlete has been evaluated and received clearance to return to play, a registered athletic trainer with specific knowledge of the athlete's condition may manage the athlete's graduated return to play
Looking for more concussion information? For the most comprehensive and up-to-date information on concussions for sports parents, click here.

Posted March 31, 2011