Student-Athlete Safety Bill Package Passes Senate

Trenton – A package of legislation sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. and Senator Sandra B. Cunningham, which would create safety measures for student-athletes to protect them during an injury, was passed by the Senate today.

“Our top priority must always be to protect our student-athletes,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “By creating safety procedures, schools will know how to handle an injury and then will be able to assist the student as they rehab back into playing their respective sport.”

“Schools must be prepared when students sustain severe injuries,” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “By having schools partner with their local emergency medical personnel to create a response plan we can ensure there are proper protocols in place to treat students when they are seriously hurt during a sporting event.”

Under the bill, S-2442, student-athletes who sustain a concussion must return to regular school activities prior to return to competition and requires school districts to implement a five-step return-to-competition process. A student-athlete would not be able to participate in further sports activity until he returns to regular school activities and is no longer experiencing symptoms of the injury when conducting those activities.

The bill, S-2443, would require school districts that are members of any voluntary association which oversee activities associated with Statewide interscholastic sports programs to adopt the “Heat and Humidity Practice Policy”. This policy is required by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association for conducting practice in all sports during times of high heat or humidity.

The bill, S-2494, would require the board of education of a school district and the governing body, or chief school administrator of a nonpublic school, to establish emergency action plans for responding to serious potentially life-threating sports-related injuries. The plan would document the proper procedures to be followed when a student sustains a serious injury while participating in sports or other athletic activity. The plan would be specific to the activity site, and be developed in consultation with local emergency medical services personnel.

The emergency action would be required to be reviewed annually and updated as necessary. The plan would also be rehearsed annually by the individuals who will be responsible for executing the plan in an emergency.

All three bills were released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.