Bill protecting student athletes filed

A lawmaker has filed a measure seeking to protect the welfare of the youth, particularly the student athletes who participate in basketball, football or any intercollegiate sports.

Rep. Mark Aeron Sambar (Party-list, PBA), author of House Bill 6617, said student athletes are usually left to pay their own medical expenses incurred from injuries suffered while participating in intercollegiate athletics.

“Student athletes spend approximately 40 hours per week participating in their respective sports yet they suffer historically low graduation rates. Providing adequate health and safety protection for student athletes can help prevent serious injury and death,” Sambar said.

Sambar said institutions of higher education should provide their student athletes with the same due process protection afforded to students who do not participate in athletics.

Sambar said alumni and sponsors are more willing to contribute if the cause is for their basketball, volleyball or football team whose games are sometimes televised or hosted by big corporations.

The measure, to be known as the Student Athlete Protection Act seeks to meet the educational needs of student athletes, which is a priority for collegiate athletic programs.

Under the bill, if a student athlete, certified by the HEI medical staff to be medically ineligible to participate in an intercollegiate athletics and its athletic program, did not renew his athletic scholarship, HEI shall provide an equivalent scholarship combined with the total duration of any previous athletic scholarship/s received by the student athlete.

The bill requires the higher education institutions (HEI) to provide an equivalent scholarship, combined with the total duration of any previous athletic scholarship/s received by the student athlete that will complete his/her undergraduate degree, whichever period is shorter.

A temporary leave of absence from a higher education institution (HEI) of a student athlete may not need to be counted against the five-year limit on eligibility for an equivalent scholarship imposed by the bill.

Each athletic program shall conduct a financial and life skills workshop for all of its first year and third year student athletes at the beginning of the academic year.

“The workshop shall also include information on time management skills necessary for success as a student athlete, and academic resources available on campus. Financial aid, debt management, and a recommended budget for full and partial scholarship student athletes living on or off campus during the academic year and the summer term based on the current academic year’s cost of attendance,” Sambar said.

An athletic program shall adopt and implement guidelines to prevent, assess, and treat sports-related concussions, injuries and dehydration.

In addition, an athletic program shall adopt and implement exercise and supervision guidelines for any student athlete identified with potentially life-threatening health conditions that participates in an athletic program.

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