Ohio Sports Safety Law | Return-to-Play Bill Amended by Ohio Lawmakers

When Ohio lawmakers created the new Ohio Return-to-Play sports safety law that would work to protect youth from serious injuries, they didn’t realize they had left the door open for coaches and referees to be criminal prosecuted for violations.

Last Wednesday, the House unanimously voted to make a correction to Ohio Sports Sports Safety Law or Return-to-Play law that went into effect on April 26 of this year. The law requires all officials, coaches, and volunteers involved in youth sports to remove players from the field if they sustain a hit to the head and exhibit concussion like symptoms. The players are not to return to the field until they have been examined by a medical doctor or licensed health care provider and receive a written notice stated they are cleared to play. No player can return to the field on the same day they are removed from the field.

However, according to NewsNet5.com, the way the Ohio Sports Safety Law or Return-to-Play law was written, sporting event volunteers can be fined or actually go to jail if they have not received the proper concussion training. State Rep. Jay Hottinger told the Associated Press that the Ohio Sports Safety law was never intended to “potentially turn volunteers and coaches and referees and officials into criminals.”

Ohio Sports Safety Law

The corrections to the Ohio Sports Safety Law bill eliminate criminal liability and also incorporate an emergency clause that will allow the bill to go into effect as soon as it is signed by Gov. John Kasich. An Ohio Department of Health spokesperson told reporters that the no known charges have been filed against a youth sport volunteer since the law went into effect.

The Ohio Sports Safety law was created after evidence showed that concussions posed a significant danger to youth sport players. The law requires the Ohio Department of health to provide information regarding the signs and symptoms of concussions and how to properly deal with them. The agencies website also provides links to free training materials that will help volunteers recognize the signs of concussion.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by the end of last 43 states and the District of Columbia passed youth sport concussion laws for youth and high school sports.

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