A bill that would require interscholastic coaches in Indiana to receive certified player safety education is heading to Gov. Mike Pence for consideration.
Under current state law, only head football and assistant coaches are required to complete concussion training. Senate Bill 234 would expand the law to require head coaches and assistant coaches of any interscholastic sports in fifth through 12th grade to complete a certified safety-education course. The bill says the course must be approved by the Department of Education in consultation with a licensed health care provider who has expertise in the area of concussions and brain injuries.
The bill was approved by the House 95-0 Wednesday and the Senate 39-11 Thursday.
Under the bill, such courses would be optional for coaches of intramural sports. The bill covers public and accredited nonpublic schools.
In the case of lawsuits stemming from a student-athlete’s head injury, civil immunity would be given to interscholastic coaches who complete and comply with the training and provide coaching services in good faith. The bill would also provide civil immunity to intramural coaches who complete the training.
SB 234 also prevents student-athletes suspected of having a concussion from returning to play without permission from a doctor. It also require parents of students in grades five through eight to sign and return information sheets on concussions before their children can play school sports.
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said late work on the bill also restored some authority to the Department of Education. The DOE now may also confer with other brain injury experts to create better concussion-training courses.
The governor can sign the bill, veto it or let it pass into law without his signature.
The law would take effect July 1, but training mandates wouldn't begin until July 1, 2017.