Legislation pushed by two Neuqua Valley High School students to have Illinois better define when and how students return to class or activities after a concussion was recently advanced by the General Assembly and moved to the governor’s desk.
The bill initially drafted by Neuqua students Rekha Iyer and Jash Desai and sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, passed the House unanimously in April and the Senate unanimously a month later.
“While I am ecstatic about the bill passing in both houses, I am not surprised that it has come this far,” Iyer said. “It is such a pressing, nonpartisan issue, and I am lucky to have the support of a such a dedicated sponsor in Rep. Kifowit. Given that Gov. (Bruce) Rauner signed the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act into law in 2015, and thus finds the issue to be important, I hope that he sees similar potential in this legislation.”
The teens’ bill was a reaction to the challenges Iyer experienced after a concussion.
The problem, Iyer said, is Illinois’ law is too vague and protocols can differ from one district to the next.
If signed into law, the Illinois State Board of Education would adopt rules governing concussion protocols and accommodations for students who may have sustained a concussion during an interscholastic athletic activity.
The measure also calls on the Illinois Department of Public Health to create a brochure to educate families on childhood concussions and the warning signs. Such a brochure would be distributed by schools to any child suspected of sustaining a concussion, regardless of whether or not the concussion occurred while the child was participating in an interscholastic athletic activity.
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune and was reprinted with the permission of the writer Suzanne Baker.