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Ohio's Return to Play Law

To protect youth athletes, the State of Ohio has passed a concussion law, Bill 143. This bill is also known as  the “Return to Play” law. This law, similar to the laws enacted in most other states, enforces training, safety, and awareness requirements on youth sports organizations, such as Little Miami Youth Soccer Association, and its leagues, tournaments, coaches, referees, officials, and athletes and their families.

A concussion is an injury to the brain that may be caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Concussions may also happen after a fall or hit that jars the brain. A blow elsewhere on the body can cause a concussion even if an athlete does not hit his/her head directly. Concussions can range from mild to severe, and athletes can get a concussion even if they are wearing a helmet. Even though most concussions are mild, all concussions are potentially serious and may result in complications including prolonged brain damage and death if not recognized and managed properly.

What are the requirements for youth sports organizations?

As of April 26th, 2013, Ohio's return-to-play law (ORC 3707.511) requires the following for youth sports organizations:
  • Requires a youth sports organization to provide to the parent or other guardian a concussion and head injury information sheet created by the Department of Health.  Click here for information sheet.
  • Prohibits an individual from acting as a coach or referee for a youth sports organization without successfully completing training in recognizing the symptoms of concussions posted to the Ohio Department of Health’s web site.  Click here for concussion signs and symptoms.
  • Requires a coach, referee, or official of a youth sports organization to remove an athlete exhibiting signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with having sustained a concussion or head injury from practice or competition.
  • Prohibits a coach, referee or official of a youth sports organization from allowing an athlete to return to play on the same day as he/she is removed.
  • Prohibits a coach, referee, or official of a youth sports organization from allowing an individual to return to the practice or competition from which the individual was removed or to participate in any other practice or competition for which the coach, referee, or official is responsible until the individual has been assessed and cleared for return by a physician or by any other licensed health care provider authorized by the youth sports organization. Click here for return to play form.
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