Ohio AAP Voices Disappointment in New Concussion Legislation

On Wednesday, June 4, a House/Senate conference committee on House Bill 487 met and adopted new language that creates a committee within the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to develop and publish guidelines for (a) the diagnosis, treatment and clearance of concussions and head injuries sustained by athletes in interscholastic and youth sports activities and (b) the minimum education requirements necessary to qualify a physician or other licensed health care professionals to assess and clear those athletes for return to practice or competition.

This amendment passed without full support from either the House or the Senate and had a lot of dissent among legislators. While this legislation does not give chiropractors and other healthcare professionals the authority to independently return youth athletes to play, the Ohio AAP is incredibly disappointed that this legislation was added into a budget document and was not fully discussed.

The ODH committee will consist of 7 members, including: two physicians, two chiropractors, a representative from the State Medical Board, a representative from the State Chiropractic Board, and the Director of the Department of Health.  The committee will be required to solicit input into these recommendations from a number of other health care professionals, including physicians from multiple specialties.

The Ohio AAP has every intention of participating in the new ODH committee process that will create new concussion management recommendations and education requirements. We will be continuing to work to make sure the committee has qualified physicians to represent the viewpoint of our membership.

If the committee is formed fairly, Ohio AAP feels our voice can still be heard with educated representatives on the committee. Once the committee is formed, we’ll be reaching out to our membership to put pressure on the committee to do the right thing for Ohio’s athletes.

If you have questions, contact Ohio AAP Executive Director Melissa Wervey Arnold via email or at 614-846-6258.

You can read more on Ohio’s Return-to-Play law, which was enacted in April 2013, by clicking here.

You can view many more resources on concussions from the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, along with our national organization by clicking here.