A measure that seeks to keep young athletes from sustaining debilitating head injuries has been approved by the House as part of a larger education bill.

An amendment to a major education bill, HB 1543, would require that high school athletes suffering a traumatic head injury to sit out competition until cleared by a licensed medical professional acting within his scope of practice.

Sponsor Don Calloway, a Democrat from St. Louis, defended that designation “scope of practice” against criticism that within the “scope of practice” might not be adequate.

“I think the term ‘scope of practice’ is being used as a euphemism for experience; within their realm of experience,” Calloway said during House debate. “And the idea is that if a registered nurse or if an athletic trainer had no experience evaluating brain injuries then they wouldn’t be the person to make that evaluation.”

Calloway said his amendment, originally filed as HB 1548, is Missouri’s reaction to a national movement to keep athletes from taking concussions too lightly and continuing to play hurt.

“As you look in the NFL and former college wrestlers, former college athletes all across the board and you look at how their brains are rapidly and prematurely deteriorating as they move into their early 30s and mid-40s, we wonder how much of that we could have prevented if you didn’t quote-unquote play hurt.”

The House has yet to complete work on the education bill.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]