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High School Transfer, Concussion Bills Signed into Law

Bills that would keep high school athletes with concussions off the field until cleared by a doctor, and another that would allow high school athletes to transfer without missing a game, were both signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott on Friday.

Supporters of HB 1403 said the intent is to ensure a high school athlete is not punished when a family moves, for divorce or foreclosure, by being forced to wait until the next season to play. Opponents warned that the bill could result in the school sport powerhouses recruiting athletes away from small schools.

The Florida High School Athletic Association, which noted during the regular session that none of its members schools asked for, released a somewhat unenthusiastic statement of support on Friday.

This legislation grew out of sincere and valid concerns about some specific issues regarding high school athletics in Florida, and we intend to address those concerns in a meaningful way, wrote Roger Dearing, executive director of the FHSAA. We recognize that the bill was well-intentioned, and its sponsors truly had the best interests of Florida student-athletes, parents and schools at heart.

Meanwhile, HB 291 requires coaches to immediately pull an athlete from a game once they get a head injury and for the student to get medical clearance before he or she can return to competition.

Both laws are effective July 1.

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