Minnesota will require youth sports coaches to complete on-line training on the signs and symptoms of concussions, according to legislation that Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law late last month. A mock bill signing ceremony was held at the Capitol today and featured Kayla Meyer, the New Ulm teen who testified about the need for more concussion awareness after two hockey-related injuries left her with prolonged headaches, light sensitivity and other neurological problems.
The bill also tightens return-to-play standards for athletes who suffer concussions -- requiring an OK from a qualified health care provider before they can resume sports activities. Opposition to the bill faded when language was added, clarifying that it did not increase the liability of any cities or schools or organizations that provide youth sports.
Critics point out that the bill lacks teeth -- offering no explicit penalties for coaches or organizations who refuse to follow the new concussion guidelines. The return-to-play standards in the bill are similar to what is already required by the Minnesota State High School League, but will now be extended to private and non-profit sports organizations as well.