Lampitt & Diegnan Bill to Help Guide a Student's Return to School after a Concussion Advances in Assembly

March 20, 2015

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt and Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. to help guard against exacerbating conditions in students who suffer concussions was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

Specifically, the bill (A-4207) stipulates that a student enrolled in a school district who sustains a concussion must receive an evaluation by a physician trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and written clearance from the physician to return to school.

"The CDC emphasizes the importance of a collaborative approach by all those involved in managing a student's recovery from a concussion - school professionals, parents, personal physicians," said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). "This bill would incorporate that approach to ensure the utmost caution is taken during their return to school and related activities so that they can safely meet the challenges ahead of them."

"School professionals play an important part in a student's development given the host of side effects that can arise from a concussion-related injury," said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). "It's critical that we make sure that everyone involved in their care has knowledge of the student's concussion and input into their integration back into school. This is crucial for a full recovery."

In the event that the physician provides notice that the student requires accommodations for learning, the school district must immediately implement the accommodations and notify all teachers and staff who have contact with the student of the accommodations. The school district's child study team will promptly evaluate the student in order to identify the manner in which the accommodations will be provided to the student during recovery and the need for the continuation or adjustment of the accommodations, and to determine the duration of the accommodations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year hundreds of thousands of K-12 students sustain a concussion as a result of a fall, motor-vehicle crash, collision on the playground or sports field, or other activity. The bill approved incorporates guidelines offered by the CDC to help students return to school after a concussion.

The bill also stipulates that a student enrolled in a school district who sustains a concussion is prohibited from engaging in any physical activity at school including, but not limited to, recess, physical education, sports, or cheerleading. The student may not participate in any physical activity until he is evaluated by a physician and receives written clearance to participate.

The sponsor's intent is to have the child study team use the physician's diagnosis and recommendations to guide accommodations upon the student's return to school for the period of time prescribed by the physician.
The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee, which is chaired by Lampitt.

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