House rejects watered-down ‘concussions’ bill, sends back to Senate with original intent

The House has rejected the Senate’s attempt to water down a bill requiring that student athletes suspected of suffering a concussion sit out for 24 hours and get a licensed medical professional to clear them before returning.

The Senate last week approved an amendment essentially undoing the original intent of the bill by giving coaches the authority to put a player suspected of a concussion back in the same game he or she was just removed from.

The House rejected the amendment unanimously Monday, and sent their amended bill with the original intent back to the Senate to vote on once again.

“I have serious concerns that someone that has had abbreviated training making that determination,” said Deputy Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, about the Senate amendment. “No one should be able to put them back in.”

Rep. Jason D. Perillo, R-Derby, said it also makes school system’s liable and could result in lawsuits if a coach determines the player is fit to play and later determined the player did have a concussion.

Statewide, 5,000 to 8,000 student athletes suffer from a concussion each year, estimated Paul Hoey, associate director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. There are currently 107,000 high school athletes in the state.

Connecticut would have been the third state to have a law regarding possible concussions in student athletes, said Senate Majority Leader Martin M. Looney of New Haven. Oregon and Washington adopted the law last year.