Thursday, Jul 28, 2016
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Bill would fix errors in Ohio sports safety law

Criminal penalties for coaches, others who violate youth athlete rules to be removed

COLUMBUS — Coaches and officials in Ohio's youth sports leagues could face criminal penalties for violating a new state law governing young athletes’ concussions and head injuries.

But state lawmakers said today that a bill-writing error unintentionally imposes the punishments and they want to correct it.

The new law takes effect in late April. It requires coaches and referees in youth sports organizations to have players who show concussion-like symptoms sit out games or practices until they're checked and cleared by a doctor or licensed health care provider. Coaches would also need to know more about concussions and how to spot warning signs.

Two legislators have sponsored a bill aimed at removing criminal penalties for violating the requirements.

Rep. Sean O'Brien says the law is intended to promote safety, not impose punishments.

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