2019 US Virgin Islands Code
Title 17 - Education
Chapter 5 - Public Schools
§ 60b. Concussions; legislative findings, guidelines, procedure, training
(a) The Legislature finds that:
(1) Concussions are one of the most commonly reported injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and recreational activities.
(2) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 3,800,000 sports-related and recreation-related concussions occur in the United States each year.
(3) A concussion is caused by a blow or motion to the head or body which causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull.
(4) The risk of catastrophic injuries or death is significant when a concussion or head injury is not properly evaluated and managed.
(5) Concussions are a type of brain injury that can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works.
(6) Concussions can occur in any organized or unorganized sport or recreational activity and can result from a fall or from players colliding with each other, the ground, or with obstacles. Concussions occurs with or without loss of consciousness, but the vast majority occur without loss of consciousness.
(7) Continuing to play sports with a concussion or symptoms of head injury leaves the young athlete especially vulnerable to greater injury and even death.
(8) The Legislature recognizes that there is a critical need for standards for concussion and head injury to prevent athletes from prematurely returning to play, resulting in actual or potential physical injury or death to youth athletes in the Virgin Islands.
(b) The Board shall develop and distribute to each public school guidelines on policies to inform and educate coaches, student-athletes, and their parents or guardians of the nature and risk of concussions, criteria for removal from and return to play, and risks of not reporting the injury and continuing to play. The Department shall develop policies and procedures regarding the identification and handling of suspected concussions in student-athletes.
(c) In order to participate in any extracurricular physical activity, each student-athlete and the student-athlete's parent or guardian shall review, on an annual basis, information on concussions provided by the Department. After having reviewed materials describing the short- and long-term health effects of concussions, each student-athlete and the student-athlete's parent or guardian shall sign a statement acknowledging receipt of such information, in a manner approved by the Board of Education.
(d) A student-athlete suspected by that student-athlete's coach, athletic trainer, or school physician or school nurse of sustaining a concussion or brain injury in a practice or game must be removed from the activity at that time.
(e) A student-athlete who has been removed from play, evaluated, and suspected to have a concussion or brain injury may not return to play any time during that same week nor until evaluated by an appropriate licensed health care provider as determined by the Board and in receipt of written clearance to return to play from such licensed health care provider.
(f) As used in this subsection, “coach” means a person who instructs or trains members on a school athletic team, as identified by criteria established by the Board.
(1) The Department of Education shall ensure that coaches receive annual training to learn how to recognize the symptoms of a concussion and how to seek proper medical treatment for a person suspected of having a concussion;
(2) The board shall establish by regulations the requirements of the training described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, but the training must include:
(A) The recognition and proper response to concussions;
(B) Timelines to ensure that, to the extent practicable, every coach receives the training described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph before the beginning of the season for the school athletic team; and
(C) Such other requirements as the Board may consider appropriate.