Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights Introduced as a Resolution in House

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Washington, DC, February 21, 2013 – The Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights was introduced as House Resolution 72 (H. Res. 72) into the U.S. House of Representatives on February 15, by Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-6) and supported by the Youth Sports Safety Alliance. It was originally co-sponsored by Rep. Devin Nunes (CA-22).
Created by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the Alliance comprises more than 100 organizations committed to keeping young athletes safe. It recently supported the 4th annual Youth Sports Safety Summit and issued the first-ever National Action Plan for Sports Safety on February 5-6 in Washington, DC. The Plan was presented to congressional members and their staffs in over 100 visits on Capitol Hill.

More than 7 million student athletes participated in secondary school athletics during the 2011-2012 academic year and suffered more than 1.3 million injuries. It is estimated that 22 percent of those injuries are from concussions, a condition that continues to increase despite the overall decrease in youth sports injuries.

“The Bill of Rights was created by the Alliance to address the important rights of young athletes when participating in secondary school sports programs,” says Jim Thornton, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. “This document outlines essential elements that should be recognized by the athletes themselves, along with their parents, school and sports officials, and policymakers at all levels.”

To view the full document please visit:

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6) said the resolution supports the ideals of the Secondary School Student Athletes’ Bill of Rights and encourages athletes, parents, coaches and health care professionals to take a proactive approach to improving the health and athletic experiences of the nation’s approximately 7.7 million secondary school athletes.
“Great memories and an appreciation of teamwork, perseverance and sportsmanship are the only things we want student athletes carrying with them long after their playing days are over,” Gerlach said. “That’s why I am pleased to partner with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and other organizations in raising awareness about the practical steps that can be taken to better protect student athletes and reduce the risk of serious injuries. In addition to encouraging the development and
implementation of best practices, this resolution recognizes those schools and athletic programs that have successfully put into place policies promoting student athlete safety.”
“Recent research has shown that student athletes with access to certified athletic trainers have lower overall injury rates, lower recurrent injury rates and lower concussion rates than student athletes without access to them,” said Thornton. “This resolution raises awareness of the need for increased youth sports safety protocols and encourages schools to develop and adopt best practices and standards to prevent and address student athlete injury.”

Highlights include that all students:

  • Be coached by individuals who are well-trained in sport-specific safety and to be monitored by athletic health care team members:
  • Have pre-participation examinations and participate in sports under a comprehensive concussion management plan;
  • Play on safe, clean playing surfaces, in both indoor and outdoor facilities;
  • Utilize equipment and uniforms that are safe, fitted appropriately and routinely maintained;
  • Participate safely in all environmental conditions where play follows approved guidelines and medical policies and procedures, with a hydration plan in place;
  • Play sports in environments with venue-specific emergency action plans that are coordinated by the athletic health care team and are regularly rehearsed with local emergency personnel;
  • Are ensured privacy of health information and proper referral for medical, psychosocial and nutritional counseling.
  • Immediate on-site injury assessments with decisions made by qualified sports medicine professionals
  • Have the right, along with parents, to the latest information about the benefits and potential risks of participation in competitive sports.
“Parents should be encouraged to ask school officials about safety policies and protocols that keep their athletes on the field and off the sidelines,” says Thornton. “We are committed to increased education, research and legislation that continues to help us reduce incidence of injury and improve safety of care across the high school landscape.”

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) – Health Care for Life & Sport
Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports 35,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit

About the Youth Sports Safety Alliance:
Since 2010, the Youth Sports Safety Alliance has worked to raise awareness, advance legislation and improve medical care for young athletes across the country. High school athletes suffer 2 million injuries, 200,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. The alliance is committed to reducing those numbers and improving the health and safety of our young athletes. The YSSA was founded by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and now includes over 100 member organizations. Visit: