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Wed May 22, 2013
Udall Co-sponsors Bill Designed To Protect Young Athletes From Brain Injury
At Rockefeller and Udall's urging, this past October the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences announced the formation of a committee to assess how best to protect young athletes from sports-related concussion. During the 2011-2012 school year, more than 300,000 high school athletes in the most common sports were diagnosed with concussions, though many head injuries continue to go unreported and ignored. Researchers have found that children and adolescents are particularly susceptible to concussions and that – once concussed – the likelihood of suffering another increases each time. The Senate Commerce Committee also held a hearing in October 2011 which uncovered that sports equipment manufacturers have repeatedly made claims that their equipment "prevents concussions" or "reduce the risk of concussions" without scientific evidence to prove them. Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for people who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle crashes. Every year American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3.8 million sports-related concussions. New medical research indicates that repeated blows to the head in numerous sports may lead to lasting brain damage, including Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as "punch drunk syndrome." "For over 30 years, I've worked as a health care provider caring for and treating student athletes on the field, so I have seen the damages of concussions first hand," said former president of the New Mexico Athletic Trainers Association Timothy Acklin ATC, LAT. "Coaches, athletic trainers and parents not only have to make sure the equipment fits properly in order to reduce trauma, but we have to trust that the protective gear is based on scientific findings, not unfounded promises. I support the efforts of Senators Udall and Rockefeller to reduce the risk of head traumas that have real, lasting effects on our children." The Youth Sports Concussion Act will:
- Instruct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to review the findings of a forthcoming National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on sports-related concussions in youth;
- Authorize the CPSC to make recommendations to manufacturers and, if necessary, promulgate new consumer rules for protective equipment based on the findings of the NAS report; and
- Allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to impose civil penalties for using false claims to sell protective gear for sports. State attorneys general could also enforce such violations.
The Youth Sports Concussion Act is endorsed by numerous sports, medical, and consumer organizations: American Academy of NeurologyAmerican Academy of PediatricsBrain Injury Association of AmericaBrain Trauma FoundationCleveland ClinicConsumer Federation of AmericaConsumers UnionMajor League Baseball (MLB)MLB Players AssociationMajor League Soccer (MLS)Major League Soccer Players UnionNational Association of State Head Injury AdministratorsNational Athletic Trainers AssociationNational Basketball Association (NBA)National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)National Consumers LeagueNational Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)National Football League (NFL)NFL Players AssociationNational Hockey League (NHL)National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE)Safe Kids USAUS LacrosseUS Soccer Federation