The following statement was issued Monday by the Senate Majority Communications Office:
STATEHOUSE — Today, Gov. Mike Pence held a bill signing ceremony for State Sen. Travis Holdman’s (R-Markle) legislation to protect high school student athletes.
Senate Enrolled Act 222 mandates safety training for football coaches who instruct athletes less than 20 years of age and who use a state- or municipally-owned facility. Coaches will be required to complete a training course at least once during a two-year period, which includes content on concussion awareness, equipment fitting, heat emergency preparedness and proper technique.
Under the legislation, a high school athlete who is removed from play due to a suspected concussion or head injury would not be allowed to return to play until released by medical personnel and at least 24 hours have passed.
“High-contact sports like football often leave students vulnerable to serious injuries,” Holdman said. “But with proper training, these injuries can be immediately managed and even prevented. It’s my hope this new law will allow student athletes to safely participate in a sport they enjoy.”
The bill also provides civil immunity for football coaches who comply with training requirements and act in good faith. Coaches would not be personally liable for a student athlete’s concussion or head injury, except in cases of negligence or misconduct.
Holdman said more than 30 medical and sports organizations have expressed support for a coaches’ training program. These include the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Football League (NFL), Big Ten Conference, Indiana Football Coaches Association and Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA).