Va. youth sports groups would need procedures to prevent concussions

WASHINGTON – Public schools already have rules for handling and preventing concussions, but a proposed Virginia bill would expand the state law to include more youth sports.

Sen. Ralph Northam, D-Norfolk, a pediatric neurologist, is the bill’s sponsor. Northam’s bill calls for recreational sports groups to establish concussion procedures if they use public school athletic fields and gymnasiums.

He says it, “encourages or provides that rec leagues that use public property or the school property use the same guidelines that have been established by the Board of Education.”

Northam says sports-related concussions are a big problem that needs to be addressed.

Some of those guidelines include making sure kids come out of games and get checked out.

“It’s basically a way of empowering families and their children to follow the guidelines and be safe regarding concussions,” Northam says.

The House Education Committee voted 16-5 to endorse the bill Monday. The measure has already passed the Senate.

Northam expects the bill will pass in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

But Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William County, told The Virginian-Pilot he has concerns about Northam’s bill.

“We have to be very, very careful about what we say to people who are not under the public education domain, even if they use the property,” Lingamfelter said.

Follow @MollenbeckWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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