Concussion Law Information

On Monday, April 22nd, Governor Bullock signed the Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athletes Act into law.  The requirements of the law mirror many aspects of the NFHS/MHSA Return to Play rules that have been in place for the past few years but there are a few additional requirements of the law.  Below is an overview of the law and how it will pertain to MHSA member schools:

  • An athletic trainer, coach, or official shall remove a youth athlete from participation in any organized youth athletic activity at the time the youth exhibits signs, symptoms, or behaviors consistent with a concussion. (Same as current return to play rules).
  • The youth cannot return to play until they are evaluated by a licensed health care professional and receives written clearance to return to play from the licensed health care professional. (The only change from the current rules is our rule stated the athlete had to be cleared by a MD, DO, PAC or NP.  The law states an athlete can be cleared to return to play by a licensed health care professional).
  • Policies – Each school district in this state offering organized youth athletic activities shall adopt policies and procedures to inform athletic trainers, coaches, officials, youth athletes and parents or guardians of the nature and risk of brain injuries, including the effects of continuing to play after a concussion.  School districts shall ensure access to training a program meeting the requirements stated previously and each official, coach and athletic trainer shall complete the training program at least once each school year. (See requirements below for MHSA schools to meet the procedures stated in the law.  Requirements for grades K-8 are the responsibility of the local school district but templates of the MHSA information will be available for use at those levels.  School's are responsible to adopt policies and can contact Joe Brott at the MTSBA for sample policies). 
  • Coaches and Athletic Trainers – To meet this provision of the law, the MHSA will require every coach (head, assistant and volunteer including cheer coaches) and athletic trainer to take the “NFHS Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know” course each year.  The course is available at The course must be viewed before the coach has contact with student athletes in his/her respective sport and viewed after May 1st for the subsequent year.   The school should restrict any coach from coaching until the course is completed or the school district is in violation of Montana State Law.   The requirements for grades K-8 are the responsibility of the local school district but schools can use the NFHS course without charge for those constituents if they so choose.
  • Officials – The MHSA/MOA will require each official to take the “NFHS Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know” course each year.  That course must be taken after June 1stfor the subsequent school year and must be completed before officiating scrimmages or contests. If you use non-MOA officials for your sub varsity games and/or elementary/junior high contests the school district must verify those officials have completed training.
  •  Student Athletes and Parents – The MHSA will require that schools distribute the attached information to each student athlete and his/her parents or legal guardians before the student participates in an MHSA sport.  The student athlete and parents/legal guardians must sign the front page after verifying they have read and understand the information regarding concussions.  The sign off sheet must be retained on file by each school.   This information with signature sheet cannot be distributed and completed until after May 1st for the next school year.  The student and parents/guardians only have to do this once per year and it must be completed before the first sport the student participates.  The requirements for grades K-8 are the responsibility of the local school district but access to the MHSA template will be made available for schools to utilize, if they choose, in Grades K-8.

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