A new bill, called the Supporting Athletes, Families, and Educators to Protect the Lives of Athletic Youth Act (SAFE PLAY Act), will strive to provide education, research, training, action plains, and awareness for health-related issues in sports. The health issues includes concussions, cardiac conditions, and heat advisories, in which physical therapists (PTs) play a role. The bill was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Representatives Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Lois Capps (D-CA). The bill could lead to management and awareness of some necessary aspects of sports safety.
According to a news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the legislation recognizes physical therapists as healthcare professionals qualified to make return-to-play decisions for youth sports concussions. The SAFE PLAY Act would call for school districts to have concussion management action plans that teach parents, students, and school personal to prevent, recognize, and respond to concussions, which includes assistance in the safe return of student athletes to play and academics.
The APTA news release also notes that the legislation encourages the development of guidelines consistent with those to be developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Guideline Work Group. The initiatives proposed in this legislation may aid in establishing concussion management guidelines, support the treatment of concussions by licensed healthcare professions, including PTs, and provide resources for state and local entities.