Four Price - Texas State Representative, Republican, District 87 | Student Athlete Safety Bill Passed

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Student Athlete Safety Bill Passed

May 24, 2011
Amarillo Globe-News

When the next academic year starts in August, all public schools in Texas will have to pay more attention to head injuries suffered in sports-related activities. The Texas Senate on Tuesday passed a bill by Rep. Four Price which will make this a requirement.

"I am thrilled because this is a good bill for sports and protects students," said Price, R-Amarillo, after the Senate unanimously approved his bill.

Price and Sen. Robert Deuell, R-Greenville, the only physician in the Senate, worked on the proposal, which had the backing of the National Football League and concussion experts. Price and Deuell expect Gov. Rick Perry to sign their proposal into law.

The bill will require all schools participating in University Interscholastic League sporting events to develop standards for dealing with students who suffer concussions while practicing or competing. The schools will be required to appoint or approve a head injury oversight team consisting of a doctor and at least one of the following: An athletic trainer, a nurse, a neuropsychologist or a doctor's assistant. HB 2038 will also prohibit an injured student from getting back on the field or a court unless he or she is cleared by the oversight team or parents or guardians sign a form acknowledging receiving and reading information about concussions and safety procedures. With the passage of Price's bill, the Legislature took another step to protect high school athletes. Price said this is why he and Deuell filed their legislation.

"This is a bill that we put a lot of work and effort into," Price said. "This is also a good model for other states" to follow.

The National Federation of State High School Associations estimates that every year about 140,000 high school students suffer concussions. Moreover, research shows that children as young as 5 are suffering head injuries that often don't get the necessary medical treatment, Dr. Theodore J. Spinks, a pediatric neurosurgeon and codirector of the Austin-based Dell/Seton Concussion Program, said in a recent interview.