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Concussion Legislation

Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Concussion Protocol

Legislation signed in 2011 by former governor Pat Quinn makes it mandatory for all school boards in the state to work with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) to develop clear guidelines to educate coaches, student athletes and their parents about the dangers and treatment of concussions and head injuries.

This legislation also requires school boards to adopt a protocol for concussions that is compliant with the IHSA concussion policy which specifies that “any athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion, or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health care professional."

The Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act & Return to Learn

Under the lead sponsorship of State Senator Kwame Raoul (Chicago- District 13), the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act (Public Act 099-0245) was approved by the Illinois General Assembly with nearly unanimous support. It was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner on August 3, 2015. This legislation requires all Illinois schools to establish “return to sports” and “return to learn” protocols for students with concussions by the start of the 2016/17 school year. It ensures that students in Illinois who have suffered concussions receive comprehensive support from their school to address both their physical and cognitive needs while their brains are recovering from a concussion injury.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also provides guidelines for how to safely return students to sports and physical activities after a concussion, as well as how to accommodate their needs in the classroom and during cognitive activities while they are still recovering from a concussion. The Illinois High School Association also has concussion-related resources available.

In order to help schools establish and implement the required “return to learn” protocols, the Institute for Sports Medicine has developed a free online training module called Return to Learn for school administrators and teachers based on the CDC recommendations. This 30-minute presentation provides age-specific academic accommodations that can be helpful during recovery from a concussion and tips for how to implement them. A PDF version of Lurie Children's Return to Learn​​ concussion guide is also available.

Lurie Children’s team of sports medicine professionals has extensive experience with diagnosis and treatment of concussions in school-aged children and adolescents. We are happy to provide consultation and support to schools as they navigate the process of establishing the concussion oversight team and protocols specified by this new legislation. Please feel free to contact us at 312.227.6527.