New NC bill could give parents ability to clear concussed childr - | WBTV Charlotte

New NC bill could give parents ability to clear concussed children for play

(Christian Flores | WBTV) (Christian Flores | WBTV)

House Bill 116, which would make changes to safety procedures for North Carolina high school student athletes, is raising some eyebrows over proposed concussion safety protocols.

One provision in the proposed bill states parents will be able to clear their child to return to play after suffering a concussion.

In an earlier draft of the bill, only medical professionals had this ability. But with the provision, parents could do this without having to go get medical approval.

North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) Commissioner Que Tucker said this is a decision parents should not be able to make.

"We feel it's best left at the hands of a medical doctor," Tucker said. "Concussions are medical situations. It takes someone with expertise to know when that concussion has healed itself."

However, one of the sponsors of the bill, Representative Harry Warren of Rowan County, said this provision will likely be taken out in the next draft.

"During the drafting of the bill there was some concern about parental rights, and that provision was left in inadvertently in the final draft," Warren said. "It will either be taken out in it's entirety or modified to all stakeholders satisfaction."

Under current NCHSAA rules, student athletes with concussion symptoms need to be seen by a licensed doctor or someone trained in concussion management, and have a form completed and sent to school saying the student athlete is ready to return before being cleared to play.

Tucker said she has been in contact with NCHSAA's doctors and medical experts on staff since this bill hit the floor, and they all agree doctors need to be making this kind of decision.

"It's very difficult to think of a daughter or a son not saying to mom and dad, 'I'm OK. I don't have a headache, let me practice, let me play,'" Tucker said.

Tucker also said this is particularly important to her because it deals with brain injuries to high school kids who are still developing physically and mentally. She's afraid this provision will put the student-athletes at risk for long-term health issues.

House Bill 116 also deals with the education of those involved in school athletic activities on sudden cardiac arrest and heat-related illnesses.

The proposed bill will establish a database on catastrophic injuries and illnesses, which would include concussions.

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