BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session
                                        

          BILL NO:       AB 588
          AUTHOR:        Fox
          AMENDED:       May 13, 2013
          FISCAL COMM:   No             HEARING DATE:  June 12, 2013
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:    Lynn Lorber

           NOTE :  This bill has been referred to the Committees on  
          Education and Appropriations.  A "do pass" motion should  
          include referral to the Committee on Appropriations.

           SUBJECT  :  Concussions and head injuries: private and  
          charter schools.
          
           SUMMARY  

          This bill extends existing concussion policies to private  
          and charter schools, and requires the currently-required  
          concussion and head injury information sheet to contain  
          specific information.

           BACKGROUND  

          Current law requires school districts that elect to offer  
          athletics to:

          1)   Immediately remove from athletic activity for the  
               remainder of the day an athlete who is suspected of  
               sustaining a concussion or head injury.  The athlete  
               must not be permitted to return to the activity until  
               he or she has been evaluated by a licensed health care  
               provider, and receives a written clearance to return  
               to the activity.

          2)   Annually require a concussion and head injury  
               information sheet to be signed by the athlete's parent  
               prior to participation in athletic activity.   
               (Education Code  49475)

          Current law requires each high school sports coach to  
          complete a coaching education program developed by the  
          employing school district or the California Interscholastic  




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          Federation that meets specified guidelines.  (EC  49032)

          Current law requires high school athletic coaches to  
          complete training regarding the identification of  
          concussions.  (EC  35179.1)

          The California Interscholastic Federation's Bylaw 313  
          requires a student-athlete who is suspected of sustaining a  
          concussion or head injury in a practice or game to be  
          removed from competition at that time for the remainder of  
          the day.  A student-athlete who has been removed from play  
          is prohibited from returning to play until the athlete is  
          evaluated by a licensed health care provider trained in  
          education and management of concussions, and receives  
          written clearance to return to play from that health care  
          provider.  A Question & Answer is listed below Bylaw 313,  
          indicating that the scope of practice for a "licensed  
          health care provider" will limit the evaluation to a  
          medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy.

           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill  extends existing concussion policies to private  
          and charter schools, and requires the currently-required  
          concussion and head injury information sheet to contain  
          specific information.  Specifically, this bill:

          1)   Requires charter schools and private schools that  
               elect to offer an athletic program to:

                    a)             Immediately remove from athletic  
                    activity for the remainder of the day an athlete  
                    who is suspected of sustaining a concussion or  
                    head injury.  The athlete must not be permitted  
                    to return to the activity until he or she has  
                    been evaluated by a licensed health care provider  
                    who is trained in the management of concussions  
                    and acting within the scope of his or her  
                    practice.

                    b)             Prohibit the student athlete from  
                    returning to the athletic activity until he or  
                    she receives written clearance to return to the  
                    activity from that licensed health care provider.

                    c)             Annually require a concussion and  




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                    head injury information sheet to be signed and  
                    returned by the athlete's parent prior to  
                    participation in athletic activity.  

          2)   Requires the head injury information sheet to include,  
               at a minimum, information regarding concussions and  
               their symptoms.

          3)   Provides that the head injury information sheet may be  
               available in a digital format, including e-mail or an  
               Internet website.

           STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  According to the author,  
               "Currently, public school student athletes and their  
               parents must receive and acknowledge written  
               information regarding head injury each year.  Schools  
               also must remove athletes from play if it is suspected  
               that a concussion may have occurred in a school sport  
               event.  As of the commencement of the 2012 school  
               year, half a million students - eight percent of our  
               state's children - attend private schools and are  
               unprotected by the common sense rules that apply to  
               public school students."

           2)   Existing policy for high school athletics  .  The  
               California Interscholastic Federation's (CIF) Bylaw  
               313 is nearly identical to current law relative to the  
               immediate removal of an athlete from play and  
               clearance from a health care provider prior to  
               returning to play.  The California Interscholastic  
               Federation (CIF) rules govern high school athletics;  
               this bill essentially extends the CIF rules (and  
               current law for public schools) to all K-12 athletics  
               (team sports) as well as to all supervised  
               recreational activities held on school grounds where  
               participants are students at a private school or  
               charter school.  

           3)   Exemption  .  Current law exempts athletic activity  
               during the regular schoolday or as part of a physical  
               education course from the existing concussion policy.   
               This bill makes no change to that provision.

           4)   Recognizing a concussion or head injury  .  Current law  




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               requires each high school sports coach (does not  
               differentiate between public, charter, or private  
               schools) to complete a coaching education program  
               developed by the employing school district or the  
               California Interscholastic Federation that meets  
               specified guidelines.  Current law also requires high  
               school athletic coaches to complete training regarding  
               the identification of concussions.  

           5)   Fiscal impact  .  This bill is flagged non-fiscal but  
               has been double-referred to the Senate Appropriations  
               Committee.  According to the Senate Appropriations  
               Committee's analysis of legislation requiring public  
               schools to comply with the concussion policy (AB 25,  
               Hayashi, Chapter 456, 2011):

          "While the provisions of this bill do not constitute a  
               reimbursable state mandate, because school districts  
               are not required to offer athletics, it functionally  
               mandates new activities for the majority of school  
               districts which provide athletics in one or more  
               schools; they must either comply or terminate their  
               athletics programs.  Enforcement would be done by  
               individual schools, at the local level, and any  
               enforcement activities would be costs to those  
               entities not reimbursable by the state.  By increasing  
               the enforcement of medical examinations for middle and  
               high school athletes, this bill will likely result  
               increased state costs in the Medi-Cal and Healthy  
               Families programs; these programs provide no-cost and  
               low-cost (respectively) medical coverage for children  
               whose families meet certain income eligibility  
               requirements."  Regarding the head injury information  
               sheet and enforcing compliance for all athletic  
               activities on school grounds, "Both requirements on  
               schools would likely result in workload increases to  
               develop policies and train staff on new rules.  While  
               schools are only required to receive and retain forms,  
               it is likely that they will need to verify information  
               and completeness of forms filed to avoid potential  
               liability.  Any enforcement activities and costs would  
               not be reimbursable."

           SUPPORT 

          California Academy of Physician Assistants




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          California Federation of Teachers
          California Optometric Association
          Los Angeles County Office of Education
          The Guidance Charter School

           OPPOSITION

           None on file.