The Virginia Commission on Youth provides a bipartisan form for complex issues related to youth and their families. The Commission studies and provides recommendations to the general assembly on matters related to youth and families. Recommendations are provided in the areas of child mental health, public safety, education, health, and human services along with many other areas. The Commission assists the general assembly’s ability to make sound policy decisions based on well studied and reasoned recommendations. The Commission is instrumental in advising and guiding the VATA through its legislative efforts, through its ability to assist in data collection and assembling resources and influential parties. By the VATA partnering with the Commission the VATA is better able to impact the health, safety and wellness of athletes throughout the commonwealth more efficiently. Due to the Commission’s past support and commitment to the VATA’s future efforts I feel that the Commission on Youth is very deserving of the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award.
Commonwealth of Virginia Commission on Youth for the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award. The Commission on Youth is directed by the Virginia Code “to study and provide recommendations addressing the needs of and services to the Commonwealth’s youth and families.” This governmental commission has assisted the Athletic Training profession through working with past and current VATA leaders and members to improve the safety of the youth in the Commonwealth. Under the leadership of Del. Chis Peace, the Commission brought together stakeholders in September 2015 to determine what, if any, legislation should be crafted to amend the current Code of Virginia to strengthen concussion guidelines promulgated by the Department of Education. The VATA played a critical role in recommending the stakeholder meeting agenda and suggesting panelists and participants. As a result of the meeting, the Commission endorsed legislation, HB 954, that was patroned by Del. Mark Keam, Commission member. This bill, signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, requires that the Department update its concussion guidelines to include a "Return to Learn" protocol. Further, it expands the scope of the concussion guidelines to include all students, not only student athletes.
The Chair of the Commission is currently Delegate Christopher K. Peace from Mechanicsville, VA. Other members of the Commission include Delegates Richard L. Anderson (Woodbridge), Richard P. Bell (Staunton), Peter F. Farrell (Richmond), Duan S. Hester (Norfolk), and Mark L. Keam (Vienna). The Senate of Virginia members include Barbara A. Favola, Vice-chair (Arlington), Charles W. Carrico, Sr. (Galax), and Dave W. Marsden (Burke). At-Large members appointed by the governor, include Karrie Delaney (Chantilly), Ms. Deirde S. Goldsmith (Abingdon), and the Honorable Chris Rehak (Radford).
In addition to the members mentioned above the Commission on Youth also has three office staff members. Amy Atkinson, Executive Director, Will Egen, Commission’s Legal Policy Analyst, and Leah Mills, Senior Legislative Policy Analyst.
This summer Delegate Peace and I met to discuss some potential legislative efforts of the VATA that will help to protect the youth of the Commonwealth while they participate in athletics. At the end of that meeting Delegate Peace suggested that the VATA partner again with the Commission on Youth to investigate the need for future emergency action plan, heat illness, cardiovascular/AED legislation. The benefit of this partnership is the Commission on Youth has the authority and personnel to collect data that will be required to make future legislative efforts successful. As we are all aware most ATs do not have time to add this data collection to their daily workload.
The entire Commission has only been acknowledged by an association once in the past and that was in 1996. I believe acknowledging the Commission on Youth for the work they did to research/promote/strengthen concussion legislation in Virginia has impacted athletic training in a positive manner. The Commission on Youth has demonstrated dedication, selflessness, and hard work while serving as an advocate of athletic trainers in the Commonwealth and our patient population. Due to the Commission’s commitment to the VATA in the past and present I feel the Commission on Youth is very deserving of the 2017 VATA Presidential Service Award.