Prof. Doug Abrams’ latest commentary on sports concussions recently appeared in The Huffington Post. His column concerns statutes, enacted in 49 states since 2009, that seek to improve treatment of concussions suffered by children who play organized sports. Prof. Abrams says that the statutes take a giant step in the right direction, but that work remains unfinished because more than 30 of the statutes reach only interscholastic sports. He argues that the 30-plus states should extend protection to the millions of youngsters who play in private leagues, clubs and associations.
Most of these private entities do not own and operate their own facilities, so they typically use public fields, gymnasiums and other facilities under permits granted by local government agencies, usually the parks and recreation department or the public school district. States and local agencies may exercise the “power of the permit” to regulate the terms under which private applicants may use public property. These terms may include adherence to mandated concussions protocols.