Utah Concussion Law Impacts USASA Snowboarders

picture-18Joining New Jersey and California helmet laws, Utah’s legislature handed down a new concussion law that will affect young, competitive snowboarders.

Now USSA coaches and officials will have the legal responsibility to remove athletes with suspected head injuries from competition and training.  A coach must remove an athlete suspected of a head injury until the athlete is cleared by a medical professional who has been trained and certified in the last three years.

Utah House Bill 204 requires coaches and officials working with the under-18 athletes to adhere to its strict guidelines. Since USSA is based in Utah, it will be enforced nationally. It was effective May 20.

“It’s a legislation designed to protect youth athletics, particularly high school athletes form returning from a head injury too soon, which could lead to other ramifications down the line,” said USSA medical director Kyle Wilkens in a press release. “Anything we can do to protect the kids is going to be better for them in the long run.”

Between Lindsey Vonn’s head injury complications at the 2011 World Championships and World Cup winner Marco Sullivan’s second-ending concussion, head injuries were once again a hot topic during the 2011 ski season.

This law follows California’s law to require minors to wear helmets. Although this law was passed last year, it has yet to be enforced. New Jersey also signed a similar bill to law in April.

Wilkens expects these laws to continue to expand across the country.

“Most of the responsibility falls on the coaches and TDs (technical delegate) in the case of ski racing, to be educated on the recognition of a concussion as well as the ramifications of training and competing with symptoms of a concussion before they are fully resolved.” said Wilkens in a press release. “We are going to see more of these laws across the country to where there is going to be legislation adopted by many other states to protect kids from having coaches push them back into competition too early.”