(a) (1) (A) The commission shall require, as a condition of licensure and as a part of the application process, the examination by a licensed physician and surgeon who specializes in neurology and neurosurgery of each applicant for a license as a professional athlete or contestant licensed under this chapter or, if for the renewal of a license, this examination every year, in addition to any other medical examinations.
(i) Upon initial licensure, the examination shall include tests and examinations designed to detect physical conditions that could place the athlete or contestant at risk for serious injury or permanent or temporary impairment of any bodily function. These tests or examinations shall include, but not be limited to, a neurological examination or a neuro-psychological examination, a brain imaging scan, and an electrocardiogram (EKG). The physician may recommend any additional tests or evaluations he or she deems necessary.
(ii) For renewal of a license, the physician shall determine the tests or evaluations necessary, if any.
(iii) The commission may require an athlete or contestant licensed under this chapter to undergo additional neurological tests where, based on the totality of the athlete’s or contestant’s records, it appears the athlete or contestant may be at risk of cognitive impairment.
(iv) On the basis of a physical examination under this subdivision, and any additional tests that are conducted, the physician may recommend to the commission whether the applicant may be permitted to be licensed in California or not. The executive officer shall review these recommendations and report any denials of licensure. If, as a result of these recommendations, the executive officer refuses to grant the applicant a license or to renew a license, the applicant shall not compete in California until the denial has been overruled by the commission as provided in this chapter.
(v) The commission may waive the requirement for a brain imaging scan or an EKG if a brain imaging scan or EKG was completed as part of the licensing requirements in another state, the commission determines that this brain imaging scan or EKG creates a reliable baseline for the athlete or contestant, and the commission has been provided with a copy of the brain imaging scan or EKG reports.
(vi) This subparagraph shall become inoperative on the date the regulations adopted by the commission pursuant to subparagraph (B) become operative.
(B) On and after January 1, 2008, all professional athletes licensed under this chapter shall be required by the commission to complete a medical examination process, which shall include the completion of specific medical examinations, to be determined by the commission through regulations, as a condition of initial licensure and license renewal. This medical examination process may include examinations required under current law and any additional medical examinations determined to be medically necessary. In adopting the medical examination process, the commission shall consider the health and safety of contestants, the medical necessity of any examinations required, and the financial aspects of requiring those medical examinations.
(2) In the absence of any pertinent untoward medical event, the commission may, in its discretion, on forms prescribed by the commission, accept tests or evaluations that are equivalent to those described in paragraph (1) and that have been completed within one year of licensure to meet the requirements of this subdivision.
(3) (A) Any medical records obtained, reviewed, or created under this chapter shall be utilized only for purposes of administering this chapter. The commission and any physician may not disclose the athlete’s medical records without a signed authorization from the athlete, except that the commission may disclose those records to other state licensing boards and commissions to which the athlete has applied for licensure or has an enforcement action pending, or upon court order in a criminal or civil action.
(B) After the adoption of regulations to establish a process for participating in medical research studies, the commission may use medical information for purposes of participating in medical research studies of the effects on the human body of contests and exhibitions regulated under this chapter. However, medical information shall not include any personal identifying information on any contestant, including, but not limited to, the contestant’s name, address, telephone number, social security number, license number, federal identification number, or any other information identifying the contestant. The medical information shall only be provided if the licensed athlete has consented in writing to participate in the research study. The regulations adopted by the commission shall include a process to ensure that no conflicts of interest arise regarding which medical examinations are required to be completed by contestants.
(b) If an applicant for licensure as a professional athlete under this chapter undergoes a neurological examination for purposes of licensure within the 120-day period immediately preceding the normal expiration of that license, the applicant shall not be required to undergo an additional neurological examination within the following 12 consecutive month license period unless the commission, for cause, orders that the examination be taken. The commission shall notify all commission-approved physicians and referees that the commission has the authority to order any professional athlete to undergo a neurological examination.
(c) The cost of the examinations required by this section shall be paid from assessments on any one or more of the following: promoters of professional matches, managers, and professional athletes or other contestants licensed under this chapter. The rate and manner of assessment shall be set by the commission, and may cover all costs associated with the requirements of this section. This assessment shall be imposed on all contests approved by the commission under this chapter. As of July 1, 1994, all moneys received by the commission pursuant to this section shall be deposited in and credited to the State Athletic Commission Neurological Examination Account which is hereby created in the General Fund. The administrative costs associated with managing and distributing the State Athletic Commission Neurological Examination Account shall be limited to no more than 20 percent of the prior year’s contributions.
(d) The commission may use no more than 30 percent of moneys from the State Athletic Commission Neurological Examination Account, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to fund special neurological examinations and new diagnostic imaging and testing to be used in relation to the examinations required by this section.
(e) Whenever a reference is made to the Boxers’ Neurological Examination Account, it is to be construed as referring to the State Athletic Commission Neurological Examination Account.
(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 370, Sec. 11. (SB 309) Effective January 1, 2014.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018