House OKs bill on athletic head injuries

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A bill that dictates procedure and liability in the case of a brain injury during secondary school activities passed through the House Health and Human Service committee in a unanimous vote Friday afternoon.

HB415 requires an amateur sports organization to immediately remove a child from participating in a sporting event if the child sustains a head injury or concussion, and it places the responsibility squarely with the organization.

Lincoln Shurtz, a lobbyist for the Utah League of Cities and Towns, said the bill is a correction of a "huge liability exposure" in the wording of the original law, passed last year. Currently, a city or county is liable based solely on providing a venue, including a city park, for an activity — even if the government entity isn't aware of the responsibility, Shurtz said.