Sen. Durbin introduces bill to improve concussion safety in youth sports

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WREX) — An Illinois lawmaker has introduced a bill to help strengthen elementary and secondary school procedures for preventing, identifying, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions.

Senator Dick Durbin (D) introduced the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act on Tuesday.

The bill requires states to adopt “when in doubt, sit it out” policies, which prevent student athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion from returning to play the same day and, after that, only allowing them to return to play once they have been cleared by a qualified health care professional.

“The mentality about the long term dangers of concussions is different from decades ago. These are serious injuries that can’t be addressed by walking it off,” Durbin said.  “By adopting the ‘when in doubt, sit it out’ policy, we can increase student health and safety in youth sports.”

The legislation will also raise awareness about the danger of concussions among student athletes by directing states to develop concussion safety guidelines for public school districts.

This includes posting educational information on school grounds and school websites about concussion symptoms and risks, and recommended responses for student athletes, parents, coaches, and school officials.

The National Federation of State High School Associations estimates that about 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions every year, though many go unreported.

The legislation is already being endorsed by professional sports leagues.

“USA Football recognizes the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act as a vital step forward to advance the health and well-being of young athletes,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck.  “This bill places great priority on education, which is the foundation of smarter and better play.”

The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA are among other organizations that endorse the policy.

Andrew Carrigan

Andrew Carrigan

Assignment Editor

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