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AB 379: Amendments to the Youth Sports Concussion and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Protocols

October 03, 2019

Effective January 1, 2020, California K-12 schools will be required to comply with additional sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) protocols pertaining to youth athletes and youth sports organizations.

On August 30, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 379 into law, expanding the existing Youth Sports Concussion Protocol (California Health and Safety Code § 124235). Originally, this statute designated 27 sports in the definition of “youth sports organization” for purposes of its provisions. As amended, the reference to those 27 designated sports is removed, thereby expanding the scope of this definition of “youth sports organization” to any organization, business, nonprofit entity, or a local governmental agency that sponsors or conducts amateur sports competitions, training, camps, or clubs in which persons 17 years of age or younger participate.” Because this definition includes “local governmental agency” in the definition of “youth sports organization” it applies to public schools. AB 379 goes into effect as of January 1, 2020.

New Sudden Cardiac Arrest Provisions

AB 379 also adds provisions to the concussion protocol law aimed at addressing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) symptoms in youth athletes. With regard to SCA it does the following:

  • Adds the phrase, “an athlete who has passed out or fainted” to the existing law that prohibits an athlete from returning to athletic activity until being evaluated and cleared by a health care provider.
  • Provides that if the health care provider suspects that the athlete has a cardiac condition that puts the athlete at risk for SCA or other heart-related issues, the athlete must remain under the care of the health care provider to pursue follow-up testing until the athlete is cleared to play.
  • Provides that if an athlete who is 17 years old or younger has been removed from athletic activity due to a fainting episode or another suspected cardiac condition, the youth sports organization shall notify a parent or guardian of that athlete of the time and date of the injury, the symptoms observed, and any treatment provided to that athlete for the injury.
  • Requires the youth sports organization to give a sudden cardiac arrest information sheet to each athlete on a yearly basis. The sheet must be signed and returned by every athlete before participating in practice or competition. If the athlete is 18 years old or older, only the athlete need sign and return the form. If the athlete is 17 years old or younger, the information sheet must also be provided to and signed by the athlete’s parent or guardian before the athlete participates in practice or competition. If the athlete is six years old or younger, only the signature of the parent or guardian is required.
  • Requires the youth sports organization to annually offer SCA prevention education, related educational materials, or both, to each coach, administrator, and referee, umpire, or other game official of the youth sports organization.
  • Requires a youth sports organization to require each coach, administrator, and referee, umpire or other game official to successfully complete the SCA education offered at least once before supervising an athlete in an activity of the youth sports organization.
  • Requires a youth sports organization to post related educational information online or give the educational information to parents, athletes, or both.
  • Requires a youth sports organization to identify procedures both to ensure compliance with the requirements for providing a SCA prevention information sheet and to ensure compliance with return to play protocols.

Keenan provides online Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Concussion training courses and resources on P&C Bridge.

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