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Organizations try to be in compliance (04-24-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by KEITH WELLS Sentinel Sports Writer   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:48
Since the passing of Ohio House Bill 143 last December, there have been some youth sport professionals who have openly critiqued the law for the administrative obstacles it has created.
With the enactment date on Friday, the "Return to Play" law by its composers, youth sport organizations state-wide are scampering to ensure that they are in compliance with this law before competitive season's begin.
"I know that this law was gearing towards football and some other high maintenance sports, but you can't just tell everybody that they have 125 days to get everything done and tough luck if they can't," said Bowling Green Soccer Challenge tourney director Arnold Zirkes. "There should have been a year lead-in to this law, so that everything can go in its own particular cycle … in order to distribute information and get the word out."
The Bowling Green Soccer Challenge is a youth soccer tournament that will occur on April 26-28 which will make it one of the first tournaments to put this law into practice. As the director of this enormous tournament, Zirkes has expressed his concern for being able to keep an accurate record of the documents that is required to be gathered from coaches, officials, and parents in order to be in compliance with the law. "We're cutting down so many trees it's ridiculous because the way the law is written the youth sport organizations, leagues, and tournaments must all maintain records of the new concussion certifications from coaches and officials and we don't know how long we have to hold on to all of this paperwork."
Another major concern regarding the law is the vague wording used to describe the youth sport organizations it encompasses.
"It is so poorly written and vague in my opinion," said Zirkes. "On the last three pages of the law where it describes a youth sports organization … the term athletic activity is too broad. If the term sport activity was used that would be one thing, but dance is an athletic activity, cheerleading is an athletic activity, and also all your sports is an athletic activity."
In addition to the concerns of a short time span to comply, administrative record keeping demands, and vague wording of the new law; there has also been concerns regarding officials being able to pull athletes out of competition if they are thought to display symptoms of a concussion.
"The thing I don't like about the law is leaving the decision on taking a kid out of a football game in the hands of a football official," said Perrysburg head football coach Matt Kregel. "When you leave that decision making process in the hands of an official who does it (officiates) once a week, to me that's not the safest way to go in the world."
In agreement with Kregel on the subject of officials removing athletes from games for displaying concussion-like symptoms, Zirkes said "you have people who are minors in all sports that are referees under the age of 18 that are going to be required to make a determination. Right, wrong, or indifferent you're talking about someone who, even though they have completed the concussion course, are not a healthcare professional making that decision."
There's no doubt the "Return to Play" law has sparked some major discussion within the state of Ohio's youth sporting organization network. With the law's enactment right around the corner, only time will tell whether its overall impact on youth sports will be positive or negative.
For more information on the "Return to play" law visit www.healthyohioprogram.org.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 10:53
 

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