In reaction to today's House Judiciary Committee hearing in New York City, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's urging 44 governors for state laws to protect student athletes from concussion risks, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8) reiterated that his ConTACT Act legislation would pave the way for a safer competitive environment for young athletes.
"Protecting student athletes from the danger of sports-related concussions needs the attention of lawmakers from across the national at all levels of government," said Pascrell, who first introduced the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act immediately after a student-athlete from the New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District died during a football game, reportedly after suffering a concussion.
"We have all heard too many stories from family and friends about how repetitive head injuries can affect the health and education of our young people. While state-by-state guidelines are an important first step, I strongly believe that this issue needs strong federal direction. The ConTACT Act will ensure continuity of treatment among all 50 states through the development of standards and practices by the nation's top medical professionals."
The proposed ConTACT Act has already led a culture of change with regard to how concussions are viewed and treated at all levels of sports competition. Specifically, the bill provides for the establishment and implementation of concussion management guidelines for school-aged children and provides grants for schools' implementation of computerized pre-season baseline and post-injury neuropsychological testing for student athletes.
* Twenty members of Congress have become co-sponsors. House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-CA) signed on as a supporter of the bill after chairing "The Impact of Concussions on High School Athletes" hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) became a co-sponsor the same day.
* U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) became the sponsor of the legislation in the U.S. Senate in December.
* During the past six months, the issue and the legislation have generated major stories on ABC's "Good Morning America," The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Star-Ledger (a three-day series), "Dan Rather Reports," and many other news outlets.
* The NFL now requires independent neurologists to review concussions and airs public service announcements about sports concussions on the NFL network. Many college and professional athletic associations have followed the NFL's lead in adopting concussion-management guidelines, including the use of baseline and post-injury testing.
* The NFL has announced its support of Boston University's studies of football related concussions and aired public-service announcements about concussion dangers on the NFL network.