[r75] BLT: Protecting student athletes, and moving our district and the state forward (5/5/2011)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Start Date: 5/5/2011 All Day
End Date: 5/5/2011

Protecting student athletes, and moving our district and the state forward

Now that the legislative session is over we can take time to look back on the progress we made over the last four months. I wanted to focus this week on a few of the bills I had a role in that were sent to the Governor to be signed into law.

One of the first bills I drafted this session dealt with concussions and head injuries in student athletes. This is a very important issue to me. When I learned that my bill was not going to be able to be heard this session due to an already packed calendar I immediately reached out to my colleagues over in the Senate to have this issue addressed in their chambers. It found a home in Senate Bill 93 and I worked extensively with the Senate authors and sponsored the bill as it made its way through the House.

SB 93 requires the Indiana Department of Education to distribute guidelines, information sheets and forms to schools across the state to educate coaches, student athletes and parents about the risks and nature of head injuries and concussions. High school athletes and their parents will be required to return a form to the school acknowledging that they received and reviewed the information in these packets each year before beginning practicing for a sport.

The bill also requires that any student athletes that are suspected to have sustained a head injury or concussion will not be allowed to go back into the game or practice until a health care professional trained in examining head injuries checks them out and gives them written permission to return.

Because of the risks and consequences of concussions we need to do what we can to minimize the damage of head injuries and prevent making the injuries worse by sending the player back in a game setting without having the clearance of a physician.

SB 93 is now sitting on the Governor's desk awaiting signature into law after it received broad bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate and I am proud to have been a part of a bill that help protect our student athletes.

I was a co-author of a bill that allows certain services performed by licensed athletic trainers to be covered by accident and sickness insurance and health maintenance organizations (HMO). This allows schools to have a licensed athletic trainer available to students for a much more affordable price by establishing coverage through their insurance provider. Athletic trainers previously were not recognized by HMOs and insurance providers as a qualified provider.  This provision will allow our student athletes to receive the medical care they need at a more affordable price to the school district.

Finally, a couple of weeks ago I mentioned a bill that I authored that sets up a summer study committee to study the unlawful ingestion of illegal substances by pregnant women who cause the death of their delivered infant and how to deal with offenders. I am happy to report that the bill is now sitting on the Governor's desk for his final approval. I hope that this bill will make a difference and lead to future legislation to deal with this matter and protect our children.

I am thankful to have had the chance to work on these meaningful bills that passed in my first session as your state representative. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I recap other important legislation that passed this session. It is exciting stuff and I can't wait to share it all with you.

Have a great week and I hope you stay warm and dry.

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Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler)