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.

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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.

Empowering Students With Information About Health, Concussions

The number of students suffering concussions during an extracurricular athletic activity is rising at an alarming rate and is impacting many students right here in Southwest Michigan.

To help combat this problem, I have introduced a bill to have Michigan join 28 other states in requiring school boards to establish a wellness policy including guidelines to educate coaches, student athletes and parents about the nature and risk of concussions during athletic activity.

A Brown University study showed that from 1997 to 2007, the number of sports-related concussions among student-athletes ages 13-19 tripled from about 7,000 to 22,000. Doctors now estimate that up to 30,000 sports-related concussions occur in the U.S. every year and many of these types of injuries go unreported.

I sponsored this bill to help ensure that everyone has the concussion information they need to help identify the symptoms – which may prevent catastrophic and permanent brain damage that can occur if an athlete takes another impact. 

This reform would also require a school’s wellness policy to include information on proper nutrition and physical activity.

With more than 12 percent of children and 31 percent of adults in Michigan considered obese, our state has become the eighth most overweight state in the nation – costing  Michigan’s economy billions of dollars in annual medical expenses.

This legislation is about being proactive to help turn this tide without burdening schools with increased costs.  Becoming a healthier Michigan will improve our lives and our economy and it starts with promoting healthy habits in our children.