Learn about Wisconsin state laws that requires all youth athletic organizations to provide education about concussions/head injuries and sudden cardiac arrest.
Concussion and Head Injury Statute 118.293
The law requires all youth athletic organizations to educate coaches, athletes and parents or guardians on the risks of concussions and head injuries and prohibits participation in a youth activity until the athlete and parent or guardian has returned a signed agreement sheet indicating they have reviewed the concussion and head injury informational materials. The law requires immediate removal of an individual from a youth athletic activity if symptoms indicate a possible concussion has been sustained. A person who has been removed from a youth athletic activity because of a determined or suspected concussion or head injury, may not participate again until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives written clearance from the health care provider to return to the activity.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Statute 118.2935
The law requires all youth athletic organizations to educate coaches, student athletes and parents or guardians about the nature and risk of sudden cardiac arrest during youth athletic activities and information about electrocardiogram testing. The concussion and sudden cardiac arrest informational materials are to be combined. The sudden cardiac arrest statute does not specify a signed agreement form, but the sample agreement form contains agreements for both concussion/head injury and sudden cardiac arrest. The signed agreement form for concussion must be submitted to a private or public school only once each school year and to a private club only once in a 365-day period before participation in an athletic activity.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal functioning of the brain (changes how the cells in the brain normally work). A concussion can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body. Any force that is transmitted to the head causing the brain to bounce around or twist within the skull can result in a concussion. Over 90% of concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. It is important to note that a concussion can happen in any sport or athletic activity.
Concussion affects people in four areas of function:
- Physical – This describes how a person may feel: headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, etc.
- Thinking – Poor memory and concentration, responds to questions more slowly, asks repetitive questions. Concussion can cause an altered state of awareness.
- Emotions - A concussion can make a person more irritable and cause mood swings.
- Sleep – Concussions frequently cause changes in sleeping patterns, which can increase fatigue.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. When that happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. If it is not treated, sudden cardiac arrest usually causes death within minutes. But quick treatment with a defibrillator may be lifesaving. A heart attack is different from a sudden cardiac arrest. A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked. During a heart attack, the heart usually does not suddenly stop beating. With sudden cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating.
The heart has an electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. A sudden cardiac arrest can happen when the heart's electrical system is not working right and causes irregular heartbeats. Irregular heartbeats are called arrhythmias. There are different types. They may cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Some can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body; this is the type that causes sudden cardiac arrest.
What are the Warning Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Usually, the first sign of SCA is loss of consciousness (fainting). This happens when the heart stops beating.
Some people may have a racing heartbeat or feel dizzy or light-headed just before they faint. And sometimes people have chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or vomiting in the hour before they have a sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest happens without warning and requires emergency treatment. Sudden cardiac arrest is an emergency. A person having sudden cardiac arrest needs to be treated with a defibrillator right away. A defibrillator is a device that sends an electric shock to the heart. The electric shock can restore a normal rhythm to a heart that has stopped beating. To work well, it needs to be done within minutes of the sudden cardiac arrest.