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Laws sought to curb youth sports concussions

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A little slice of health reform that Hines Ward might not back: Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., on Dec. 4 announced he would sponsor legislation that would seek to fight concussions in youth sports. From The Associated Press:

The bill … would establish a grant program to states to come up with ways to prevent, diagnose and treat sports-related concussions in high schools and middle schools. It also calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to develop concussion management guidelines, including standards for athletes to return after concussions.

It’s called the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act, or ConTACT Act. The legislation comes as concussions among athletes at all levels has been getting a look in Congress.

Menendez is following the lead of fellow New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr., who filed a similar bill March 5, before fighting concussions was cool. Pascrell’s bill hasn’t moved anywhere since it was referred to committee. But it does have 10 Democratic and two Republican co-sponsors, which is practically lovey-dovey bipartisanship in this day and age. And Menendez’s bill comes as there is additional pressure on the NFL over how it handles concussions, state-level legislation about youth sports concussions, and a growing sentiment that leagues at all levels have a history of underestimating long-term and short-term concussion damage.

You might even say that, in the parlance of old concussion language, the sports world has gotten its bell rung.

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A clip from the Sept. 15 episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, which featured a piece on concussions in high school football. Gumbel is talking to the mother and teammates of Ryne Dougherty, who died of a brain hemmorhage after a hit on the field in October 2008. The family is suing  because Ryne had been cleared to play after two previous concussions.

Written by rkcookjr

December 4, 2009 at 6:07 pm