To: General Chairs, LSC Permanent Offices, Officials Chair, Registration Chair, Zone Officials Chair, Operational Risk/Safety Chair, Operational Risk Committee Members
Many states have modified existing school concussion laws to apply the requirements to youth sports organizations in which athletes participate, including swimming. The risk management/insurance website at
2018 Concussion Laws by State
- safety/operational risk has a list of state educational requirements, as well as the coaches and officials quick links pages.
SWIMS will have a CONCUSSION PROTOCOL TRAINING box where the training information can be entered (Y/N) and it will show up on Deck Pass
. It will take some time for the LSCs to enter the information, so nobody has to be excluded from the deck until the coaches and officials have a reasonable time to complete the training. We will notify you when enforcement should begin
. These state laws change rapidly so you should verify your state educational requirements as well as those at out of state meets.
The Operational Risk Committee strongly suggests that all coaches and officials take the training, even if not required by the state, to avoid personal liability for concussion/head strike incidents and so USA Swimming can demonstrate an excellent risk profile to our insurers. Some states, like Idaho, extend liability protections afforded by the state law to all youth sports programs who comply even though those programs outside of schools don’t technically have to comply.
1.Most state laws require that a youth athletic program must immediately remove an athlete from an athletic activity for the remainder of the day, if the athlete is suspected of sustaining a concussion or head injury, and prohibit the athlete from returning to the activity until the athlete is evaluated by a licensed health care provider, trained in the management of concussions, and acting within the scope of his or her practice. The athlete must receive written clearance from the licensed health care provider to return to the athletic activity. If the athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, they should go through a graduated return to play protocol of no less than seven days under the supervision of a licensed health care provider. Youth sports organizations must also notify the parents or guardians of athletes 17 or younger who have been removed from athletic activities due to suspected concussions.
2.Coaches and officials, in most states, must successfully complete the concussion and head injury education required under the state laws at least once, either online or in person. Some states require annual training, or every three years, or just the initial training. The following links to courses from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will satisfy the requirements. Coaches and officials must keep evidence of passing these courses to provide to your LSC.
A field has been developed in SWIMS to capture this information. If your state has developed or approved separate courses then those will also satisfy the requirements.
Coaches and officials must also be aware that states like California and Ohio will require visiting coaches and officials to complete the courses even if not required by your state.
3.In some states, youth sports organizations must also give a concussion and head injury information sheet to each family. The information sheet shall be signed and returned by the athlete, and if the athlete is 17 years of age or younger, must also be signed by the athlete’s parent or guardian, before the athlete initiates practice or competition. In other states the information sheet can be distributed through an electronic medium including, but not necessarily limited to, fax or electronic mail. Examples of the acknowledgement sheet, if needed, are on the risk management website or you can email George Ward at
for a form or to ask any questions.
4.USA Swimming has also developed concussion and head injury education materials for coaches and officials. See the link to a “concussion at the pool checklist” below which has been reviewed by Sports Medicine. Additional educational materials are available on the Sports Medicine web page under concussion management.