The number of children suffering sports-related concussions is rising at an alarming rate – impacting the lives of many young people.
I recently sponsored legislation to require youth sports organizations, including schools, to adopt a concussion awareness program. It is about helping everyone involved recognize these injuries when they occur and establishing guidelines for when a young athlete can play again after suffering a concussion.
The National Football League (NFL) is leading an effort to get similar legislation passed in all 50 states and Congress. An NFL representative and Detroit Lions team president Tom Lewand testified in support of my bill, telling lawmakers about the impacts of concussions and the need to address it at all levels of sport.
Under Senate Bill 1122, a concussion awareness program would include training and distribution of educational materials for parents and athletes. A youth suspected of sustaining a concussion would be required to be immediately removed from activity and may not return until he or she has been evaluated by a health professional and received written clearance to play.
A Brown University study showed that from 1997 to 2007, the number of sports-related concussions among student-athletes ages 13-19 tripled to about 22,000. Doctors now estimate that as many as 30,000 sports-related concussions occur in the U.S. every year, and far too many of these types of injuries are going unreported.
If approved, Michigan would become the 36th state to require young sport agencies to establish a set of concussion awareness guidelines.
My goal is to ensure that the health of our young athletes always comes first.