AED Liability in Ohio

The Elk & Elk law firm is pleased to announce it has purchased an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) for use in an emergency. This life-saving device is located on the first floor of our Mayfield Heights location, near the restrooms. Now employees, clients and visitors to the Elk & Elk building will have a better chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Arrest

According to the Red Cross, sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Over 350,000 people will suffer from sudden cardiac arrest this year. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and at any age. An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest and is an easy-to-operate tool for someone with no medical background.

Time is of the essence:

  • The average response time for first responders once 9-1-1 is called is 8-12 minutes.
  • For each minute defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival is reduced approximately 10%.

Am I Liable?

People may worry they may be sued if something goes wrong while using an AED or performing CPR on an unconscious victim. Thanks to Ohio’s “Good Samaritan Laws,” people who voluntarily assist victims in distress are protected from litigation. Pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code §2305.23, individuals are protected from liability for providing emergency care outside of a hospital unless their acts constitute “willful” or “wanton” misconduct or are performed for payment. (Paid firefighters and police are exempt from this provision.)

In December 2014, lawmakers passed an Ohio bill, which shields building owners from negligence claims arising from AED use. The new automated external defibrillator law (O.R.C. § 3701.85) extends immunity to anyone who owns an AED machine and allows anyone to use the device, recommending training but not requiring it. Additionally, any person performing defibrillation is required to make a “good-faith effort” to activate an emergency medical system (call 9-1-1) as soon as possible. The law had previously required the person to activate the system.

AED Training at Elk & Elk

To help us start our new public access defibrillation program, Certified American Red Cross Instructor Laura Breese came to Elk & Elk to train volunteers from throughout the building to recognize a cardiac emergency and use the device to shock the heart into a regular rhythm.

Checking an Injured or Ill Adult

If you encounter an unconscious person, follow these steps before using an AED:

  • Check for responsiveness. Tap their shoulder and shout, “Are you OK?”
  • If no response, Call 9-1-1 and send someone to get an AED. If an unconscious person is face-down, roll him or her face-up keeping the head, neck and back in a straight line.
  • If you are certified in CPR, begin while you wait for the AED.
    • Open the airway. Tilt head; lift chin.
    • Check for Breathing. Check for no more than 10 seconds. Occasional gasps are not breathing. If there is no breathing, perform CPR.
    • Give 30 chest compressions. Push hard, push fast in the middle of the chest at least 2 inches deep and at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. Person must be on a firm, flat surface.
    • Give 2 rescue breaths. Tilt the head back and lift the chin up. Pinch the nose shut and make a complete seal over the mouth. Blow in for about 1 second to make the chest clearly rise. Give rescue breaths, one after another.
    • Do Not Stop. Continue cycles of CPR. Do not stop unless you find an obvious sign of life (such as breathing), an AED is ready to use, another trained responder or EMS personnel take over, you are too exhausted to continue or the scene becomes unsafe.

An Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) can save livesUsing the AED

  1. Turn on AED. Follow the voice and visual prompts.
  2. Remove all clothing from the victim’s chest and wipe the bare chest dry. Remove any medication patches. Shave away any excessive hair. Metal jewelry may be removed to prevent burns, but remember that time is critical.
  3. Attach pads. Place one pad on the right center of the person’s chest above the nipple. Place the other pad slightly below the other nipple and to the left of the ribcage.
  4. Plug in connector, if necessary. (Our AED does not require this step, but others may.)
  5. Stand clear. Make sure no one, including you, is touching the person. Say, “Everyone, STAND CLEAR.”
  6. Let the AED analyze the heart rhythm. Push the “analyze” button if necessary.
  7. Deliver shock, if advised. Make sure no one, including you, is touching the person. Say, “Everyone, STAND CLEAR.” Push the “shock” button, if necessary.
  8. Perform CPR if no signs of life. After delivering the shock or if no shock is advised, perform 2 minutes (5 cycles) of CPR and continue to follow the prompts of the AED. If at any time you notice an obvious sign of life, stop CPR and monitor breathing and for any changes in condition. If two trained responders are present, one should perform CPR while the other operates the AED.

AED Safety

  • Do not use on children below 8 years or 55 lbs. unless using pediatric electrode pads.
  • Do not use on conductive surfaces , such as water, fluids or metals
  • Do not operate an AED if under the effects of alcohol or drugs
  • Do not touch patient when shock therapy is being delivered
  • Do not use in an explosive environment, e.g. oxygen enriched, gaseous or fume environment

For the complete Red Cross “Adult First Aid/CPR/AED Ready Reference” card, visit:
http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m28340131_Adult_Ready_Reference_Card.pdf

 

Kids and Guns: A Deadly Combination

Gun control is always a hot-button issue in this country. However, stories in the media about shootings that involve children – from Sandy Hook to the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland – are guaranteed to spur lively debate, sometimes resulting in calls for new legislation.

A young child takes aim with a rifle.
Photo Credit: Suchart Sriwichai /Freerangestock.com

Recently, a heartbreaking headline appeared on CNN.com, which read, “Accidental shootings plague Houston area as children play with guns.” The media outlet reported that three child shootings had occurred during a span of just four days. The first victim, a 3-year-old boy, died after he found a gun in a residence and accidentally shot himself. Two days later, another child, age 4, also died due to injuries from a self-inflicted gunshot wound—he reportedly found the gun under a bed. In the third shooting, a 5-year-old boy was critically injured when his 6-year-old brother accidentally shot him.

Sadly, each of these tragedies could have been prevented. According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Child Access Prevention (CAP) laws have been shown to be effective at reducing unintentional firearm deaths among children. Indeed, one study found that in twelve states where such laws had been in effect for at least one year, unintentional firearm deaths fell by 23%.[1]

Protecting Ohio’s Children

Currently, Ohio has no law specifically penalizing allowing children access to firearms. However, legislation has been languishing in Columbus for more than two years that would establish the crime of criminally negligent storage of a firearm.

The proposed bill (HB 75), reintroduced in 2015 by Rep. Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland), prohibits a person from storing or leaving a firearm in a manner or location in the person’s residence if the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor is able to gain access to the firearm.

“This bill does not impede the Second Amendment,” said Patmon in an interview with the Toledo Blade in 2013. “We have car seats to protect children. Doesn’t it make sense to protect them from a .45 lying on the table?”

 

Sources:

Accidental shootings plague Houston area as children play with guns” by Dana Ford, CNN, March 3, 2015.

“Uncommon sense: Gun safe-storage laws have saved lives around the country, but Ohio remains behind the times” (Editorial) The Blade, March 19, 2014.

 

 

[1] Peter Cummings et al., State Gun Safe Storage Laws and Child Mortality Due to Firearms, 278 JAMA 1084, 1084 (Oct. 1997).

 

Ohio Bill Gives Doctors More Immunities

Ohio_Statehouse_columbusTort reform is alive and well in Ohio. Amid the rancor surrounding the federal government shutdown, a reprehensible bill has been proposed in the Ohio House of Representatives. If passed, House Bill 276 would grant even more immunities to health care providers.

Among other provisions, the bill states that if a physician admits he or she made a medical mistake, which caused death or serious harm to a patient, then that statement would be ruled inadmissible — preventing it from being used against the doctor in a court of law. If you or I were involved in an auto accident and we admitted the crash was our fault, we would be held liable for our actions. This begs the question: Why should doctors be treated differently?

Tort Reform

Proponents of tort reform have argued that litigation is to blame for the rise in medical costs. They maintain that by limiting jury awards and settlements, thereby lowering medical malpractice payments for doctors, patients will see a decrease in medical bills. During the health care reform debate, then-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called medical malpractice the “biggest cost driver” in medicine. Republicans in Congress have made it a perennial priority to pass legislation that would restrict patients’ ability to seek redress in court.

However, a recent study by Public Citizen, an independent consumer advocacy group, shows that despite reduced litigation and smaller payouts to victims, the nation’s health care bill has continued to rise.

“Since 2003, medical malpractice payments have fallen 28.8 percent,” the report states. “If medical malpractice litigation were truly the ‘biggest cost driver’ in medicine, then declining payments should have pulled overall health care costs down. But the nation’s health care bill has risen 58.3 percent since 2003.”

New Legislation

Introduced by Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Twp.), H.B. 276 would amend section 2317.43 and enact sections 2305.27 and 2323.40 of the Revised Code to provide special immunities to health care providers. The Ohio Association for Justice plans to fight the proposed legislation. They shared a summary of the bill in a recent email.

  • The bill says that admissions to the patient or patient’s family that the doctor committed an error or is at fault would be inadmissible in court. Ohio’s current apology statute makes expressions of sentiment inadmissible, but statements of fact that an error occurred during a procedure are admissible.
  • The bill bans medical negligence claims when the chance of a patient’s survival is less than 50%. In loss of chance cases today, the injured patient’s recovery is reduced proportionally based on loss of chance, but this would bar all recovery.
  • The bill grants immunity to hospitals and other health care facilities when the treating physician is an independent contractor. The hospital would have a duty to notify the patient that the facility is not liable for the actions of doctors who are independent contractors.

Prior tort reform legislation in Ohio placed caps on the amount an injured party could receive, thereby reducing the volume of litigation. However, as we previously shared, medical malpractice litigation can actually improve patient health by drawing attention to problem areas.

Joining Rep. Stuatberg as co-sponsors of the bill are Representatives John Becker (R-Union Township), Terry Blair (R-Washington Twp.), Louis W. Blessing, III (R-Colerain Twp.), Bob D. Hackett (R-London), Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), Gary Scherer (R-Circleville), Barbara R. Sears (R-Monclova Twp.), and Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell).

 

Sources: 

House Bill 276, 130th Ohio Gen. Assembly, proposed September 30, 2013.

No Correlation: Continued Decrease in Medical Malpractice Payments Debunks Theory That Litigation Is to Blame for Soaring Medical Costs” Public Citizen, August 2013.

Government Shutdown Puts Consumers at Risk

As the battle over The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the debt ceiling stalls in congress, furloughs of more than 800,000 government employees continue and some public safety services have literally gone “offline.”

Salmonella outbreak

In an effort to research the massive salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 300 people, we turned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website for answers, only to find it was down. “Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available,” read a message on usda.gov. “After funding has been restored, please allow some time for this website to become available again.”

Fortunately, the website of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a public health agency within the USDA, is operational. While no poultry has been recalled, the agency issued a public health alert stating that raw products from Foster Farms in California may contain strains of Salmonella Heidelberg and should be cooked thoroughly before eating.

In a statement issued this week, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said seven strains of Salmonella are responsible for the illnesses, including some that may be highly resistant to treatment by antibiotics. The consumer watchdog group claims the outbreak is sending 42 percent of victims to the hospital—a rate twice what is normally seen in Salmonella outbreaks.

“The number of people we know to be ill is just the tip of the iceberg,” said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal. “This outbreak shows that [it] is a terrible time for government public health officials to be locked out of their offices and labs, and for government Web sites to go dark.”

Politico.com reports, “After the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert Monday about a multistate Salmonella outbreak, it took the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 24 hours to create an outbreak page on its website with detailed information for consumers and the media.”

The shutdown’s toll on government websites is varied. Some sites are down completely, while others remain functional – albeit with a warning that no updates will be made during the shutdown.

No automobile recalls

Due to furloughs, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has no one investigating new consumer complaints. That means there will be no automobile recalls during the shutdown and all current investigations have stopped. A banner on the safercar.gov reporting page tells consumers, “Due to a lapse of Federal Government funding, NHTSA is unable [to] process safety defect complaints after close of business September 30, 2013. Consumers can continue to file complaints via this website, but they will not be evaluated by NHTSA staff until funding and services are restored.”

Although car manufacturers can still voluntarily recall vehicles, that is a rare occurrence. Major recalls usually require intense negotiations.

The NHTSA handles nearly 700 recalls each year, affecting 20 million vehicles according Joan Claybrook, former head of the agency.

“Safety is being undermined,” Claybrook said. “If unsafe cars are on the highway, if the agency isn’t operating so it can’t put out consumer alerts, if it can’t finish up a recall notice that it wants to publish or negotiate with an auto company they want to do a recall, that puts the public at risk.”

How has the government shutdown affected you? Please log in to comment or share your stories with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sources:

Chicken salmonella outbreak becomes symbol of federal shutdown” by Michael Muskal, LA Times, October 9, 2013.

Gov’t shutdown puts brakes on automobile recallsCBS News, October 10, 2013.

Trampoline Parks Lack Regulation

sept_article2Kids love to jump – on the bed, sofa, bounce houses, and especially, trampolines. Indoor trampoline parks are springing up across the country. Mostly housed in old warehouses, these facilities are filled with a sea of interconnected trampolines and other high-flying activities.

Know the risks

If time has taught us anything, it’s that trampolines are inherently dangerous. And it’s not just the falling-off part that is fraught with risks, there are other dangers, too. Since the rise in popularity of back-yard trampolines, mounting data has revealed that even just the simple act of jumping with another person can be risky. “Double jumping” or a “double bounce” can cause serious injuries as one person lands while another tries to jump. Kids have also been injured as they collide with one another or land on metal springs and frames. Add into the mix jumpers hurtling through the air as they attempt extreme acrobatic moves, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

Just ask Stephen Merrill. The Utah college student was seriously injured when he went to an indoor trampoline park with some friends two years ago. He jumped into a pit full of foam blocks, but instead of landing softly, he “shot right through them” and landed headfirst at the bottom. The impact fractured vertebra in his neck. Stephen is now paralyzed from the neck down.

The landing pits are not the only source of danger. Scores of children, teens, and adults have suffered from shin fractures, chest fractures, ankle injuries, knee injuries, torn tendons and ligaments, spinal injuries and even brain damage while just jumping on a trampoline.

Legislation needed

Owners of the trampoline parks claim that serious injuries are rare. But how do we really know? These parks remain largely unregulated, so no official injury statistics exist. As the ERs fill up and lawsuits have begun to mount, some state lawmakers have started to push for regulations. Legislation is pending in California and Utah that would create inspection programs, employee training and mandatory injury reporting.

Although there are at least a dozen trampoline parks in Ohio (with more in the works), there are currently no federal or state regulations for these facilities. That means there are no standards for first aid training, no protocols for the removal of injured jumpers across scores of unsteady trampolines, and no one to make sure the facilities are safe or require the owners to carry a suitable amount of insurance.

For the naysayers out there that doubt a trampoline park can be dangerous, here are some sobering facts from a 2009 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Trampoline Injuries in the United States

  • 70 injuries occurred for every 100,000 kids between 0 and 4
  • 160 injuries per 100,000 kids ages 5 to 14
  • 98,000 injuries a year are treated at hospital emergency rooms

If you still choose to bring your child to a trampoline park, be sure to read the waiver carefully. Before they jump, remind your kids to follow all safety rules and obey staff members’ instructions. Additionally, don’t be afraid to set personal ground rules for your kids, such as no flips or other limitations. Just remember, despite your best efforts, this unregulated activity may pose serious risks to jumpers of all ages.

 

Source:

Rising trampoline injuries spur local laws for jump gyms” CBS/AP August 12 2013.

Ohio Law Slashes Jury Award to Victim of Sexual Assault

An Ohio woman whose pastor sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old has now been deprived of over $3 million. Neither a robbery nor a Ponzi scheme was to blame. The culprits responsible for this “theft” were members of the Ohio General Assembly.

A jury awarded $3.6 million to the woman, who is now 21, for the years of post-traumatic stress she suffered following the assault. However, a judge ruled she could receive no more than $500,000 because of an Ohio law that places limits on “noneconomic damages.”

In Ohio, there is no limit on damages for an economic loss. In this case, the plaintiff recovered $150,000 for future money she would not earn as a result of the assault. However, noneconomic factors, such as this victim’s debilitating PTSD, are capped at $350,000.

Buying freedom

Similar laws exist in Ohio which place limits in other types of cases, including medical malpractice claims and lawsuits against political subdivisions. These laws are part of a conservative agenda known as Tort Reform. Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the American Insurance Industry spend millions of dollars each year, lobbying for new legislation that limits the liability of business owners and the companies that insure them.

The pastor, Brian L. Williams, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery in 2008 for forcing the victim to perform sexual acts with him at his church office. He is currently serving his 8-year sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution. The young woman and her father sued Grace Brethren Church of Delaware, Ohio, claiming they knew of previous allegations by other young women.

The attorney for the plaintiff, John Fitch, called the caps on damages and the outcome of the woman’s trial a “moral outrage.” He went on to say, “We don’t need to protect people who cause or contribute to children being raped. And that’s exactly what this statute does.”

Damage caps are arbitrary amounts that do not take into account unique circumstances of each individual. Caps effectively negate a jury’s verdict, which only serves to help big businesses and insurance companies boost their bottom line while hurting our society’s most vulnerable members. Furthermore, these caps are fixed – meaning they will stay the same over the years, without any adjustment for inflation. Each case should be decided on its merits by a jury, not politicians backed by corporate donors.

Source:

Law cuts damages awarded to sex-assault victim” by Laura Arenschield, Columbus Dispatch, August 10, 2013.

Zimmerman May Face Civil Suit

aug_article2The criminal trial of George Zimmerman is over, but he may find himself in a courtroom again. The family of shooting victim Trayvon Martin could file a civil suit against Zimmerman for the wrongful-death of Trayvon. Although the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prevents a defendant from being tried for the same crime twice, a concept known as double jeopardy, it does not prevent an additional civil action. A lawyer for the Martin family said that while not a certainty, such a trial remains an option for them to seek justice – something the family felt was denied in criminal court.

Wrongful Death

The standards for proving wrongful death vary from state to state. In Florida, the controversial “stand-your-ground” statute requires a pretrial hearing to determine if the defendant used deadly force only because he was in reasonable fear of death or serious injury. If Zimmerman is successful in his “stand-your-ground” hearing, the civil suit would be dismissed. This could leave the Martin family responsible for paying Zimmerman’s attorneys’ fees, expenses, as well as compensating him for any loss of income or other costs he may have incurred during the proceedings.

However, if Zimmerman does not win his “stand-your-ground” hearing, the civil trial would commence. In order to be successful, the Martin family would only need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Zimmerman’s negligence caused Trayvon’s death. The civil suit would have a new judge, jury, and possibly new evidence. That is because some protections afforded in a criminal trial do not apply in a civil case. For example, while Zimmerman elected not to testify during his criminal trial, he could be compelled to testify in a wrongful-death suit.

Stand-your-ground Law Introduced in Ohio

Ohio currently has what’s known as the “castle doctrine.” It gives people the right to defend themselves with force in their homes, their vehicles or the vehicles of immediate family members. If a person feels threatened somewhere other than those locations, he or she currently has a “duty to retreat”— however, that may change. State Rep. Terry Johnson proposed new legislation similar to Florida’s “stand-your-ground” law in June. If passed, it would allow for the use of deadly force without the duty to retreat and ease restrictions on carrying concealed weapons.

Sources:

A Civil Suit Could Make Zimmerman Pay — or Could Backfire” by Adam Cohen, Time, July 16, 2013.

Ohio House resurrects ‘stand your ground’ bid” by Jennifer Feehan and Jim Provance, Toledo Blade, July 21, 2013.

Laser toys put children at risk

Lasers are everywhere. They allow us to listen to a CD, scan our purchases at the checkout counter and then, there is the omnipresent laser pointer. As adults we know not to shine these devices into anyone’s eyes, but what about lasers in the hands of children?

In the U.S., toys are generally overseen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, all lasers, whether wielded by a surgeon, used to cut metal, or sitting atop a child’s toy, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This week the FDA issued a statement on laser toy safety, warning parents of potential health risks including:  serious eye injuries and even blindness. Anyone in the room when a laser is used may be harmed, including pets. These  injuries often manifest over time and are not readily apparent.

What You Should Know

  • Never aim or shine a laser directly at anyone, including animals. The light energy from a laser aimed into the eye can cause injuries, perhaps even more than staring directly into the sun.
  • Do not aim a laser at any reflective surface.
  • Remember that the startling effect of a bright beam of light can cause serious accidents when aimed at a driver in a car or otherwise negatively affect someone who is engaged in an activity (such as playing sports).

Current FDA regulations do not specifically address children’s toy laser products.

According to Dan Hewett, health promotion officer at the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), “For toys to be considered minimal risk, we recommend that the levels of radiation and light not exceed the limits of Class 1, which is the lowest level in regulated products.” He explained that lasers used for industrial and other purposes often require higher radiation levels. But in toys, those levels are not only unnecessary, they are also potentially dangerous.

Right now, there is no mandatory labeling to consumers how intense a toy laser beam may be; although, some manufacturers do voluntarily reveal this information. To prevent injuries, the FDA urges parents to look for a statement on the label that a laser toy “complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.” Such devices do not exceed the Class 1 limits.

The agency warned parents not to assume a laser is safe just because it is promoted as a plaything. Common types of laser toys include:

  • Lasers mounted on toy guns that can be used for “aiming
  • Spinning tops that project laser beams while they spin
  • Hand-held lasers used during play as “lightsabers”
  • Lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room

Future Regulation

The FDA recently issued a proposed rule that would define children’s toy laser products and require them to be within International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Class 1 emission limits. While this rulemaking process is ongoing, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health encourages manufacturers to keep children’s toy laser products within IEC Class 1 emission limits in order to minimize the risk they pose to this vulnerable population.

 

Source:

Laser Toys Are Dangerous for Kids, FDA Says”, by Mandy Velez, The Huffington Post, August 6, 2013.

Proposed NCAA Accountability Act addresses head injuries

Frustrated over the recent disciplinary actions taken against Ohio State University and Penn State, lawmakers from Ohio and Pennsylvania are taking on the NCAA at the federal level. A new bill, entitled the National Collegiate Athletics Accountability Act, is being touted by its sponsors as a bipartisan effort, designed to “improve the health and education of student athletes and to require greater accountability and transparency from the NCAA.” Only six pages in length, the bill encompasses topics ranging from head injuries to pay-for-play.

Introduced to Congress by Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) and Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), the proposed legislation would withhold federal funding from schools that are NCAA members unless the organization makes significant policy changes, including:

  • Requiring annual baseline concussion testing for all student athletes participating in contact and limited-contact sports before an athlete can participate – even for practices
  • Mandatory four year scholarships for athletes participating in contact/collision sports instead of on a year-to-year basis
  • Establishing due process to student athletes and member institutions found in violation of NCAA rules by requiring an administrative hearing and at least one appeal
  • Permitting institutions to provide stipends (payment) to athletes

While this legislation addresses several important (and potentially contentious) issues, let’s focus on the first policy change listed above. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury with serious side effects and future health implications. The NCAA is currently facing a slew of lawsuits alleging they did not have sufficient safety measures in place to protect students from head injuries. An internal NCAA survey from 2010 found that nearly half of the college trainers indicated they put athletes showing signs of a concussion back into the same game – something that experts say should never be done.

Concussion baseline tests

Currently, the NCAA only recommends that colleges perform concussion baseline tests and the organization reports that about two-thirds of schools are already complying. At Elk & Elk, we think a compulsory baseline is an excellent idea. If an athlete sustains a head injury, comparing post-injury test results to baseline test results can help doctors determine the extent of the injury and when he or she may safely return to play.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), baseline testing is a pre-season exam which should be conducted by a trained health care professional. These tests are used to assess an athlete’s balance and brain function (including learning and memory skills, ability to pay attention or concentrate, and how quickly he or she thinks and solve problems), as well as for the presence of any concussion symptoms.

Considerations for younger athletes

For youth sports, Ohio has strict rules about head injuries. Earlier this year, the Return to Play Law went into effect. Among other things, the law requires coaches and referees to remove any child (18 and under) from athletic activities if he or she is exhibiting symptoms of having suffered a concussion. For more information, see our previous blog: “Ohio’s Return to Play Law – what you need to know.”

It will be interesting to see if the NCAA bill will gain any traction. Some legal analysts have criticized the bill’s simplicity, but like any proposed legislation, it will likely undergo many changes before a final revision comes up for vote.

You can read the full legislation here:

Final NCAA Bill Language

Source:

Introducing the NCAA Accountability Act: Two members of Congress propose bipartisan bill” by Jon Solomon, Birmingham News via AL.com, August 1, 2013.