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S1288 - Chiropractors to Determine Return to Sports Post-Concussion

NO, this Bill is NOT good for Idaho's children

Allowing chiropractors to clear youth athletes after a concussion puts those youth at risk. It is an unwise and dangerous expansion of the chiropractic scope of practice. Appropriate concussion management requires coordinated care and the expertise of physicians and non-physicians alike.

Chiropractors are not primary care providers; they do not perform basic primary care services such as vaccinations and physicals. If a player were to receive a cut or laceration during a game or practice, a chiropractor is not able to suture the cut and treat this simple injury—it puts youth athletes at serious risk to allow chiropractors to treat concussions and other traumatic brain injuries without consulting a physician.

National standards adopted by the American Academy of Neurology and endorsed by the NFL and other leading organizations recommend that the return to play process be managed by health care providers who are both knowledgeable about sports concussion and practicing within the scope of their training and experience. Chiropractors simply do not meet these standards. Chiropractors can be a vital part of a comprehensive healthcare system, but they must consult with a physician before clearing a youth athlete; this is the medical standard of care.

From Dr. Caroline E. Faure, Founder of the Idaho State University Center for Sports Concussion in prior testimony: “I am aware that the legislation...if passed, would allow licensed chiropractors in our state to manage concussion and determine a child’s readiness to return to physical activity if they complete a nationally recognized or board of chiropractic physicians- approved concussion management education program. Let me state categorically: the educational process to understanding appropriate treatment for concussion is not and should never be that simple.”

Dr. Kurt Nilsson, Medical Director of the St Luke’s Concussion Clinic, in prior testimony: “The chiropractic lobby would have you believe that a “nationally recognized” concussion education program will provide all of the information needed to manage concussions, and this is simply not true, mostly because there is no comprehensive, nationally recognized concussion education program apart from the curricula...of allied health professions.

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