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SB 22: "An Act relating to prevention and evaluation of and liability for traumatic brain injuries in student athletes."

00                             SENATE BILL NO. 22                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to prevention and evaluation of and liability for traumatic brain                                      
02 injuries in student athletes."                                                                                          
03 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
04    * Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section                          
05 to read:                                                                                                                
06       TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY; FINDINGS. The legislature finds that                                                      
07            (1)  concussions rank among the most commonly reported traumatic brain                                       
08 injuries in children and adolescents who participate in sports and recreational activities;                             
09            (2)  the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates                                  
10 that as many as 3,900,000 concussions occur each year in the United States as a result of                               
11 sports and recreational activities;                                                                                     
12            (3)  a concussion is caused by a blow to or jarring of the head or body that                                 
13 causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull, resulting in a mild to severe traumatic brain                        
14 injury, which may occur with or without loss of consciousness, and may disrupt normal brain                             
01 function;                                                                                                               
02            (4)  a concussion may occur during an organized or unorganized sport or                                      
03 recreational activity as a result of a fall or from players colliding with each other or another                        
04 obstacle;                                                                                                               
05            (5)  the risk of catastrophic injury or death from a concussion or other head                                
06 injury increases when the injury is not properly evaluated and managed, and the athlete is                              
07 allowed to continue to participate in sports or recreational activities following the concussion;                       
08            (6)  although voluntary nationwide guidelines for managing concussion in                                     
09 sports recommend assessing concussions on an individual basis, with gradual return to play,                             
10 athletes continue to be returned to play prematurely, putting them at risk for greater injury or                        
11 death.                                                                                                                  
12    * Sec. 2. AS 14.30 is amended by adding new sections to article 3 to read:                                       
13            Sec. 14.30.142. Traumatic brain injury in student athletes: prevention and                                 
14       reporting. (a) The governing body of a school district shall consult with the Alaska                            
15       School Activities Association to develop and publish guidelines and other information                             
16       to educate coaches, student athletes, and parents of student athletes regarding the                               
17       nature and risks of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries. Guidelines                                    
18       developed under this section must include a description of the risks of return to play                            
19       and standards for return to play, including the procedures required under (b) and (c) of                          
20       this section.                                                                                                     
21            (b)  A student who is suspected of having sustained a concussion or other                                    
22       traumatic brain injury during a practice or game shall be immediately removed from                                
23       the practice or game.                                                                                             
24            (c)  A student who has been removed from participation in a practice or game                                 
25       for suspicion of concussion or other traumatic brain injury may not return to play until                          
26       the student has been evaluated and cleared for participation by a licensed health care                            
27       provider who has received training in the evaluation and management of traumatic                                  
28       brain injuries, including concussions.                                                                            
29            (d)  A person who conducts an evaluation under (c) of this section may not be                                
30       held liable for civil damages resulting from an act or omission during the evaluation,                            
31       except that the person may be held liable for reckless or intentional misconduct and                              
01       for gross negligence.                                                                                             
02            Sec. 14.30.143. Traumatic brain injury: school district immunity. (a) A                                    
03       school district may not be held liable for an injury to or the death of a person resulting                        
04       from the action or inaction of a person employed by or under contract with a nonprofit                            
05       youth organization if                                                                                             
06                 (1)  the action or inaction occurred on school property during the                                      
07       delivery of services by the district or organization;                                                             
08                 (2)  the organization is under contract with the district to provide the                                
09       services; and                                                                                                     
10                 (3)  before the provision of services, the organization provided to the                                 
11       district written verification of                                                                                  
12                      (A)  a valid insurance policy covering the injury or death in an                                   
13            amount not less than $50,000 for each person and $100,000 for each incident;                                 
14                      (B)  compliance with the protocol for prevention and reporting                                     
15            of traumatic brain injury required in AS 14.30.142.                                                          
16            (b)  This section may not be construed to impair or modify the ability of a                                  
17       person to recover damages for harm caused by the negligent or reckless actions of an                              
18       employee or contractor of a school district or by the existence of a condition,                                   
19       equipment, program, or structure known by the school district or organization to be                               
20       unsafe.                                                                                                           
21            (c)  In this section, "youth organization" means a public or private entity                                  
22       qualified to do business in the state that provides a program or service to persons                               
23       under 19 years of age.