Reducing traumatic brain injuries in youth sports: youth sports traumatic brain injury state laws, January 2009-December 2012

Am J Public Health. 2013 Jul;103(7):1249-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301107. Epub 2013 May 16.


Objectives: I sought to describe current state-wide youth sports traumatic brain injury (TBI) laws and their relationship to prevailing scientific understandings of youth sports TBIs, and to facilitate further research by creating an open-source data set of current laws.

Methods: I used Westlaw and LexisNexis databases to create a 50-state data set of youth sports TBI laws enacted between January 2009 and December 2012. I collected and coded the text and citations of each law and developed a protocol and codebook to facilitate future research.

Results: Forty-four states and Washington, DC, passed youth sports TBI laws between 2009 and 2012. No state's youth sports TBI law focuses on primary prevention. Instead, such laws focus on (1) increasing coaches' and parents' ability to identify and respond to TBIs and (2) reducing the immediate risk of multiple TBIs.

Conclusions: Existing youth sports TBI laws were not designed to reduce initial TBIs. Evaluation is required to assess their effectiveness in reducing the risk and consequences of multiple TBIs. Continued research and evaluation of existing laws will be needed to develop a more comprehensive youth TBI-reduction solution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Liability, Legal
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sports / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Sports / standards
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology