TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas House of Representative has approved a bill that would enable chiropractors to sign off on student athletes returning to a sport after a head injury.
The Kansas City Star reports that the current law allows chiropractors to perform student athletes’ physicals before a sports season and to diagnose concussions on the field. It requires that a medical doctor evaluate and sign off before a student athlete can return to a sport after a head injury.
The bill passed 73-51, but prompted an intense debate about whether chiropractors have sufficient expertise to make those decisions.
“Your child. Your child. What do you want that’s best for your child?” asked Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills.
Bollier, a retired physician who opposed the bill, said head injuries can have a permanent effect on one’s brain and that medical researchers are still in the process of understanding the long-term impact of concussions.
Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita said that chiropractors wouldn’t necessarily have the ability to sign off on a student returning to the playing field in every case.
Under Kansas law, chiropractors are doctors, said Rep. Dick Jones, R-Topeka. Jones said allowing chiropractors to make the diagnosis would expand access to rural communities where there may not be a medical doctor.
“Let’s give the communities in the rural areas at least have the chance to have a functioning sports program,” Jones said.
The Kansas Chiropractors Association backs the bill and the Kansas Medical Society and other physicians’ groups oppose it.
The House reconsidered the chiropractor measure Tuesday and reapproved it 70-53, sending it to the Senate.
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