Brain Injury Laws

Title 26 Chapter 53 Section 102 defines traumatic head injury as “an injury to the head arising from blunt trauma, an acceleration force, or a deceleration force. TBI is indicated by one of the following observed or self-reported conditions attributable to the injury: transient confusion, disorientation, or impaired consciousness; dysfunction of memory; loss of consciousness; or signs of other neurological or neuropsychological dysfunction, including seizures; irritability; lethargy; vomiting; headache; dizziness; or fatigue”. Brain injury is considered a serious problem. A number of states aim to effectively prevent and diagnose cases of traumatic brain injury. The government aims to respond to the needs of TBI patients and rehabilitate them. Between 2009 and 2012, at least 41 states passed laws to address traumatic brain injury. Sports-related concussions are the main target of legislations enacted by the majority of the states. Traumatic brain injury cases among war veterans were also considered by some legislations, including appropriation of funds, for TBI prevention and treatment programs. It also requires insurers, hospitals and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for survivors of traumatic brain injury. Certain laws were promulgated in order to protect people from brain injury. Below is a list of enacted legislation to address traumatic brain injury:

Protection of Athletes with Head Injuries Act

There is always a possibility for head injuries when a child participates in sports. Chapter 53 of Title 26 of the Utah Code requires amateur sports organizations and schools to adopt and enforce a concussion and head injury policy.  The schools are also required to get written approval of the policy by parents/legal guardians before their child participates in a sport activity. A child who gets a head injury must be removed from play and may only return after written clearance from a qualified health care provider is given to the school or program. To be considered as “qualified health care providers”, they must have taken a continuing education course in the evaluation and management of a concussion within the last three years. Ski resorts are exempted from this law.

Utah Laws

Chap. 226 (2012 HB 400)

House Bill 400 creates the Traumatic Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust Fund and an advisory committee to administer the fund and to disbursement of funds received through appropriations, gifts and a portion of impound fees to assist charitable clinics providing rehabilitation services for the post-acute-care of people with such injuries.

Chap. 289 (2013 HB 269)

House Bill 269 clarifies the requirements of a school nurse engaged in treating a student who sustains a concussion or traumatic head injury. According to this law, a school nurse may treat a child/student who has sustained a head concussion or traumatic head injury during school hours on the school property. However, the nurse is not allowed or not qualified to issue a certification/written notice allowing the child to return/join his physical education class. The school is also required to have it’s school nurse undergo training in the evaluation and management of a concussion if funding is available. There is no need to train the school nurse if the school where the nurse is employed has an athletic trainer or other qualified healthcare provider who is trained in the evaluation and management of a concussion. To learn more, read our “Brain Injuries” article.

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