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Oregon House OKs bill to support students after concussions

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon House passed legislation Wednesday to support students in the classroom after they are diagnosed with a concussion or brain injury. House Bill 4140 would provide schools, educators, parents and students with a tool to help develop appropriate academic accommodations for students recovering from a brain injury. 

Rep. Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville), the chief sponsor of the legislation, spoke to how this policy will create a needed, missing tool for educators and families to best support students following a concussion or brain injury that occurs outside of sanctioned school sports, according to a news release from Oregon House Democrats.

“In my career as a high school teacher, I noticed more and more students reporting to me they suffered a concussion,” Neron said. “I never had training on how to accommodate these students, so I did my own research and supported students as best I could.

"Just like we don’t ask kids to run in PE on a sprained ankle, we must take concussions and brain injuries seriously, even though we cannot see them. HB 4140 will formalize a process to best support students and their families as they heal from these invisible injuries.” 

The legislation requires the Oregon Department of Education to produce a form that describes academic accommodations available for a student who has been diagnosed with a brain injury and provides a mechanism to identify academic accommodations. The form would be distributed to public education programs in Oregon and could be requested by the student, the parent or guardian, or an instructor. 

“As a coach and a parent, I am gravely concerned that our students are not getting the support they need after suffering a brain injury,” said Rep. Mark Meek (D-Oregon City), a co-chief sponsor on the bill.

“We have done good work to ensure that students who get concussions during athletic activities have to be carefully evaluated before they can play again. This policy fills a critical blind spot in our response to adolescent brain injuries and will support our students succeed both in the classroom and on the field.”

House Bill 4140 passed 54-3. It now goes to the Oregon Senate for consideration. 

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