Our representative in Congress, Mark DeSaulnier, has introduced a bill aimed at preventing concussions among student-athletes in the U.S. and says the legislation is supported by the NFL and NCAA, among others, it was announced Thursday.
The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act (H.R. 2062) would create national standards on concussion safety and lead to procedures on concussion prevention, detection, and treatment in student-athlete sports, DeSaulnier said in a statement.
The bill establishes a “when in doubt, sit it out” policy requiring students suspected of sustaining a concussion to halt participation in athletic activities the remainder of the day, be medically evaluated and have their parents notified.
It would also require all schools receiving federal aid to develop a concussion management plan informing students about concussions and offering recovery support. The bill directs states to develop concussion safety guidelines for public school districts, which include posting educational information on school grounds and school websites.
DeSaulnier says his bill is necessary given the sharp rise of concussions and our growing knowledge of their longterm consequences. He cited a statistic that concussion rates among high school athletes have doubled between 2005 and 2012.
An estimated 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions annually and many go unreported, according to data from the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“Young athletes’ brains are still developing, which makes them more susceptible to injury and puts them at greater risk of sports-related concussions than college or professional athletes,” the congressman said in a statement.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has introduced similar legislation in the United States Senate, the statement added.