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Under the School Code in Illinois, chiropractic physicians cannot remove a high school student-athlete from activity for a possible concussion or certify a high school athlete to return to play, either after determining there is no concussion or after recovery from a concussion.
The School Code contains provisions regarding who may remove a student-athlete from a game and who may authorize a student to return to play. Although chiropractic physicians are physicians licensed under the Medical Practice Act, they are unnecessarily excluded from both functions, because the School Code currently defines “physician” as a person licensed to practice medicine in all of its branches under the Medical Practice Act (a medical or osteopathic doctor). This definition excludes an entire category of physician, chiropractic physicians, who are well-educated and trained to evaluate and determine recovery from concussions.
For example, if a student suffered a concussion during an athletic event and a chiropractic physician were part of the healthcare team at the game, the chiropractic physician could not evaluate the student and determine the student should be removed nor certify if the athlete can return to the game. A chiropractic physician also may not certify the student to return to the sport following recovery from a concussion.
However, under the Medical Practice of 1987, these activities are well within the scope of practice of a chiropractic physician. Doctors of Chiropractic could expand student access to critical concussion evaluation services, both on and off the athletic field. Therefore, the ICS is advocating to change the law.
The ICS has filed HB 4925 (Breen) to allow chiropractic physicians the ability to remove an athlete from play, as well as, certify an athlete to return to play. The ICS has received staunch opposition from other healthcare groups, as well as the Illinois High School Association, regarding this issue. We continue to look for ways to advance this legislation.