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 Ohio North, 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.
Concussion Training is required if you are a coach, team manager, trainer or any other individual who will be rostered to a team with a member pass. You will be required to complete the Heads Up Concussion Training every two years.
ALTERNATIVE TRAINING: Heads Up is currently experiencing technical difficulties. You may complete the NFHS Concussion Training as an alternative. [UPDATED 08/08/19]
Effective July 1, 2019, all Concussion Training requirements will be validated through the new SportsEngine portal as part of Ohio North's new background screening and player safety compliance.
A valid certificate of completion will be required to be uploaded directly into your SportsEngine account PRIOR to your background screening and acknowledge the following:
- Understand a concussion and the potential consequences of this injury,
- Recognize concussion signs and symptoms and how to respond,
- Learn about steps for returning to activity (play and school) after a concussion, and
- Focus on prevention and preparedness to help keep athletes safe season-to-season.
It is recommended that you keep a copy of your completed CDC certificate for your personal records.
In conjunction with completing the above training course, you must carry the following items while at practice or competitions:
Information for Parents/Guardians
All of Ohio North member clubs/leagues are responsible to provide a Concussion Information Sheet for Youth Sports, supplied by the Ohio Department of Health, to the parent or other guardian of each athlete who wishes to practice for or compete in the league. This information must be provided yearly. Upon Ohio North’s request, leagues must be able to produce evidence of compliance with this obligation.
Effective for the 2019/2020 seasonal year, Ohio North has included the Concussion Information Sheet for Youth Sports and for Parents/Guardians and Athletes as part of the online player registration process for those clubs who directly register their athletes to Affinity and/or Stack Sports.
Information for Leagues and Sanctioned Tournaments
More information coming soon...
Removal From Play
Ohio's Return to Play law features three (3) key rules that it's leagues, coaches, referees, officials and athletes and their families must abide by:
- Rule One: Coaches, referees or officials must remove from play an athlete exhibiting the signs and symptoms of a concussion during a practice or a game.
- Rule Two: The athlete cannot return to play on the same day that he or she was removed after exhibiting symptoms of a concussion.
- Rule Three: Thee athlete is not permitted to return to play until he or she has been assessed by a physician or licensed health care provider approved by the youth sports organization and receive written clearance. Leagues must be able to produce evidence of compliance with this obligation, which may require the league to retain the written clearance form and/or otherwise demonstrate that the league verified that the athlete was cleared to return to play.
Ohio North has provided a document that you may present to your physician to complete: Return-to-Play Doctor Verification Letter
Consequences of Failure to Comply with Ohio's Return to Play Law
If a coach, referee, or official is knowingly not compliant with the Return to Play law, including training requirements and removal from play requirements, he or she could face civil liability (see O.R.C. 3707.511 (F)(1)) should a child become injured due to his failure to follow the law. Additionally, coaches, referees and officials who fail to follow the law may be rendered ineligible to participate in Ohio North member league events and Ohio North-sponsored events.
All referees for Ohio North member leagues and Ohio North sponsored events must also demonstrate that they ahve complied with the training requirements of the Return to Play Law. Referees should have a copy of their certificate on them at all times for proof of compliance. Referees should be able to send a copy of their certificate to referee assignors and to the league upon requesting this information at any time. More so, referee assignors shall not assign any referee to an Ohio North sanctioned game or event without proof from the referee of their compliance to the concussion education.
***Referee Concussion Reporting Policy***
Referees are required to notify the proper tournament or league officials for players removed from games for possible concussions as follows: 1) at Ohio North sanctioned tournament games, referees are to keep passes of players removed from games for possible concussions and turn those passes into the proper authorized personnel, to be held until the end of the tournament or until signed written medical authorization forms clearing the players have been received; 2) at league games, referees are to keep passes of players removed from games for possible concussions and return the player passes at the completion of the games; and 3) at recreational games, referees are to notify the proper tournament or league authorities of players removed from games for possible concussions.
More information about the Return to Play law, training materials, information about the identification, treatment and prevention of concussions can be found at the Ohio Department of Health website.