The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Taylor Adams


Texas’s state concussion law, known as Natasha’s Law, does not reflect a comprehensive safety standard that affords protection to athletes of every age and at every level of play. Because uniform concussion standards fall outside the purview of the federal government, the responsibility is left to Texas to implement, amend, and regulate laws on youth athletic competitions.  Natasha’s Law implements an immediate removal policy from practice or a game when a student-athlete exhibits signs of a concussion. Nonetheless, Natasha’s law falls short because it limits coverage to only school sponsored practices, competitions and interscholastic activity, and negates coverage for recreational leagues and athletes below the junior high level. Specifically, Natasha’s law does not cover youth football. Despite studies that show that athletes between the ages of five and fourteen are susceptible to catastrophic brain injury resulting from exposure to repetitive head contact, Texas has failed to provide adequate protection. Brain disease linked to football has become a hot topic of national debate. More and more retired professional football players have been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease related to repetitive head-to-head contact. Since sports-related traumatic brain injuries have become widely recognized as a major public health issue, the current education, removal from play, and return-to-play guidelines should be amended to incorporate youth football leagues. Implementing policies that address concussion education and proper return-to-play protocols and broadening the coverage of Natasha’s Law would promote a uniform safety standard. Additionally, mandating strict compliance with the current, applicable provisions in Texas’s law may help mitigate the current unnecessary dangers prevalent in many youth leagues across the state.

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