The state SSAC already has
a return-to-play protocol for
Under the protocol, athletes showing signs of concussion are to be removed from play immediately and not allowed to return or practice until cleared by a certified medical professional. The SSAC also requires all student athletes to watch a DVD about the risk of concussive-type injuries at the beginning of each sport season.
But Kessler said that protocol doesn't go far enough. He wants lawmakers to have input on the rules to ensure student athletes have adequate protections.
He said requiring the SSAC to come up with rules that would then be approved by the Legislature could help accomplish that goal.
The bill also requires more thorough reporting requirements than the current SSAC protocol does.
"This will bring it to a more formalized process and lead to the adoption of rules that make sure we have the appropriate precautions in place to ensure that our student athletes are protected and their future health is not endangered by suffering what might have been an unnoticed or undiagnosed, slightly traumatic brain injury," Kessler said.
The bill now goes to the House of Delegates, and, if passed by that body, still would require the governor's signature to become law. House members had started work on a similar bill earlier in the session and are expected to take up the Senate version.
Kessler is optimistic it will be signed into law by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin next month.
"I think we ended up with a good piece of legislation that will protect our children, continue to permit them to engage in sports - including contact sports - but makes sure there's no game, first down, or pin in any wrestling match that should be primary over the health and permanent effects on a child's health," he said.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.