NFL Supports Concussion Awareness Program

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.

Honor Our American Heroes this Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time for us to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America, pay tribute to their memory and celebrate everything they fought and died to protect.

We certainly would not enjoy the blessings we do here in Southwest Michigan if it were not for the selfless courage of America’s service men and women.

The tradition of Memorial Day is more than 140 years old, when it was originally known as Decoration Day. It was started as a time to honor those killed in the Civil War by decorating their graves.

There are many ways that we can show our gratitude. You can join thousands of volunteers who will pay respect to our fallen heroes by decorating their graves with American flags.

I encourage everyone to do something to honor the brave men and women who fought and died for our great nation as well as those now serving. Many such heroes live and work right here in Southwest Michigan and across our state. Thank a veteran for his or her service, or proudly display the American flag.

I would like to recognize the families of those who serve for their sacrifices as well. They endure while their son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife preserve our freedoms and spread democracy across the globe.

All too often they never return home.

Most of all, remember the brave men and women who gave their lives so that we could remain free. Our nation remains strong today because of their dedication. It is a debt we can never repay, but one that we can sincerely honor.

Proos Working on Youth Athlete Concussion Legislation

State Senator John Proos

WKZO – Radio

State lawmakers are still pursuing legislation aimed at reducing the impact concussions have on youth athletes in Michigan.  State Senator John Proos says it was discussed last week, emphasizing that awareness needs to be raised among those involved with youth sports.

“If there’s ever a doubt,” Proos says, “you pull the kid out.”

Proos says when an athlete is stunned once, it may be time to stop there, as it’s often a second impact that does the most damage.  The bill should come up for a vote in the Senate in the next couple of weeks.

Proos Bill on Concussion Awareness Clears Senate Committee

Herald Palladium

The state’s Senate Health Policy Committee has approved legislation requiring youth sports organizations, including schools, to adopt a concussion awareness program.

Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, sponsored the bill.

“The number of children suffering concussions during organized athletic activity is rising at an alarming rate and is impacting the lives of many young people throughout Michigan and nationwide,” Proos said in a press release. “This program would help everyone involved recognize concussions and brain injuries when they occur and put in place guidelines for when a young athlete can play again after suffering a concussion.”

Under the bill, all organizing entities that offer youth athletics would have to adhere to a concussion awareness program that includes awareness training, distribution of educational materials for parents and athletes and criteria for the removal of a youth from physical activity.

The NFL is leading an effort to get similar legislation passed in all 50 states and by Congress. Detroit Lions team president Tom Lewand testified in support of the bill.

“What the NFL and the Detroit Lions are working to establish is a standard of care across the country, so that youth athletes, coaches and volunteers are knowledgeable enough to recognize the signs of concussion and kids get the medical attention they need to recover before returning to play,” Lewand said in a press release.

The bill also states that a coach, adult volunteer or individual acting on behalf of the organizing entity must immediately remove a youth from physical activity who is suspected of sustaining a concussion. It also states the youth may not return until he or she has been evaluated by a health professional and receives written clearance.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the state House of Representatives.

If approved, Michigan would become the 36th state to pass legislation to require young sport agencies to establish a set of concussion awareness guidelines.

Coloma Students Show What is Possible Throught Creativity, Collaboration and Hard Work

Coloma High School Career and Technical Education (CTE) students were honored in February by the Michigan Department of Education with the Excellence in Practice Award for a metal dinosaur sculpture project.

The school’s art, robotics and welding departments came together to complete this remarkable project.

It represents what Michigan students and teachers can achieve through creativity, collaboration and hard work.

I was proud to welcome these dedicated students and their teachers to the Capitol recently, and was able to see their talents firsthand.

The Excellence in Practice Award recognizes successful, exemplary state-approved CTE programs and career initiatives. The programs must demonstrate outstanding outcomes, produce measurable results for students and meet the challenge of high academic rigor.

We have done much to make Michigan more competitive for job, including those in manufacturing. While we work to bring these jobs to our state, we must ensure that Michigan will continue to have workers with the skills necessary to land these jobs.

That is why I co-sponsored Senate Bill 997 to revise the state’s high school graduation requirements to allow seven credits to be filled either through the current route or through career and technical courses.

The program at Coloma High School is about offering a way for young people to explore the many career options available to them. I strongly support the program and encourage Southwest Michigan residents to come out and see their sculptures at Grandpa’s Cider Mill in Coloma.

Proos Legislation Encourages Companies to Protect Environment on Own

By Mike Arney

WSJM – Radio

Legislation to cut regulations and provide incentives for businesses that volunteer to become certified “clean corporate citizens” through environmental management programs is headed to the state House. Senator John Proos sponsored the bills, which have now passed the Senate.

Proos says becoming a clean corporate citizen would require significant time and investment. That would include creating a pollution prevention program and using an approved environmental management standard. It would benefit local businesses and farms and encourage them to participate in things like the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.

Pure Michigan = $1 Billion in Tourism

A record number of out-of-state visitors were attracted to the state in 2011 as a result of last summer’s Pure Michigan campaign.

According to the state tourism group Travel Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the summer promotion generated 3.2 million trips to Michigan and visitors spent $1 billion at local businesses, paying $70 million in taxes.

The successful, award-winning tourism promotion program has had a direct, measurable effect on boosting tourism in Southwest Michigan.

John Marple, who owns the Old Harbor Inn in South Haven said: “The ads have given my business a boost and have done the same for many hotel owners across the state. Right now, we are gearing up for another season of growth at the inn.”

In addition to supporting our state’s tourism industry and the thousands of Michigan job providers and families who depend on tourism, the program is helping the state budget. For every dollar we invested in Pure Michigan last summer, the state got back almost five dollars in revenue.

The 2011 summer campaign cost $14.3 million and brought back $4.90 in taxes for each dollar spent. The state also recently announced a new advertising partnership with Coca- Cola. Under the partnership, idyllic Michigan scenery will cover Coca-Cola trucks and vending machines at no cost to the state.

I strongly support the Pure Michigan program because it accomplishes three goals at once: helping keep and create jobs, generating more state revenues and improving Michigan’s national image to entrepreneurs considering locating in our state.

The campaign is a productive investment, and I hope its success continues in Southwest Michigan.

Proos Introduces Legislation to Help Protect Kids from Sexual Abuse

May 3, 2012

Herald Palladium

State Sen. John Proos on Wednesday introduced legislation known as “Erin’s Law” to help prevent the sexual abuse of children in Michigan.

Senate Bills 1112-1114 would require school boards to put in place policies addressing child sexual abuse. The bills would also create a one-time Task Force on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Children, made up of legislators, state officials and experts to make recommendations on changes to Michigan laws.

“My legislation is about protecting Michigan children and preserving the innocence of childhood,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph, in a press release.

However, he added, one of every four girls and one in seven boys suffer sexual abuse by the time they’re 18, and they know their abuser in more than 90 percent of the cases.

The bipartisan measures are named “Erin’s Law” after Erin Merryn, a sexual abuse survivor from Illinois, whose advocacy in her home state led to the passage of a similar law there in 2011.

After going public about abuse by a family member, Merryn made it her mission to try to ensure that children have the age-appropriate education to recognize and talk about sexual abuse.

“As a child I was educated in school on tornado drills, bus drills, fire drills, stranger danger and drugs, but when I was sexually abused I listened to the only message I was being given – and that came from my abusers to stay silent,” said Merryn. She said education is the best way to solve the problem.

“I believe it is critical we educate kids that they have the right to say ‘no’ and that this is never their fault,” said Jamie Rossow, director of Berrien County Council on Children.

If the bills are enacted, Michigan would join Illinois, Indiana and Missouri in enacting Erin’s Law. Similar legislation has also been introduced in New York, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maine, Iowa and Massachusetts, according to Proos’ office.

Under the bills, schools could adopt age-appropriate curriculum, train school personnel on child sexual abuse and adopt policies to tell parents about the warning signs of abuse.

Proos’ office said children are now taught to beware “stranger danger,” but not to identify abuse, especially on the part of someone they know.

Parents would be made aware of the curriculum and be able to “opt out” if they did not want their child involved.

The sponsors of the companion measures in the package are state Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, and state Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor.