Physical Activity

Increased concern about the prevalence of sports-related brain injuries has led lawmakers to consider new ways of protecting student-athletes.

This Act limits the liability of school districts for injuries suffered by youth who participate in youth programs on school property. The Act directs school districts to work with the state interscholastic activities association to develop guidelines and inform coaches, athletes, and parents about the dangers of concussions and head injuries. The bill requires youth athletes and their parents or guardians sign a concussion and head injury information sheet for the athlete to be eligible to play in a program using school facilities.

This Act requires school districts ensure coaches get annual training to recognize when players exhibit concussion symptoms and how to seek proper medical treatment for players who exhibit such symptoms. The bill prohibits coaches from allowing players to practice or play in a game if the player exhibits concussion symptoms or has been diagnosed as having had a concussion until the player is cleared to play by a health care professional.

In 2006, lots of kids in West Virginia started dancing to a video game—not in an arcade—but in a school.  The game—called Dance Dance Revolution—incorporates dance moves to the latest pop songs, lighting up the steps on a special floor mat for players to follow.  Those kids got moving when schools saw the success in a 2004 effort launched by the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency. It was an effort to address the problem of childhood obesity and help the children of the agency’s members lose weight.

America’s first lady, Michelle Obama, has an ambitious goal—to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Her initiative, “Let’s Move!,” builds on promising approaches to provide states, schools, families and communities proven tools to help kids be more active, eat better and get healthy.

The statistics are startling. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese high school students has nearly tripled in the past three years. Thirty-two percent of children diagnosed with diabetes in one study had type 2 diabetes—the type normally  associated with obese adults. Obesity among children, once a rarity, has become an epidemic in this country. Fortunately, schools across the country are responding to this health crisis. Many innovative programs are taking place at the local or school district level, but all too often those programs operate in a vacuum and are not publicized, even in neighboring counties.

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports and encourages states to enforce existing U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations that prohibit serving foods of minimal nutritional value during mealtimes in school food service areas, including vending machines.