Today Governor Rick Scott visited the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to participate in a ceremonial bill signing for the HB-291 Youth Athletes bill. The bill requires coaches and others to immediately remove players from a game or practice following a head injury and would prevent the student athletes from returning to competition until the player has been cleared by a doctor.
"This law will help save the lives of our children", said Governor Scott, "As teachers, coaches, leaders and mentors, it is our responsibility to ensure that every practice and game is played safe and every injury is addressed. The Youth Athletes bill reinforces this."
This bill, sponsored by State Representative Ronald Renuart (R-Ponte Vedra) and Senator Anitere Flores, passed unanimously through the House and Senate last spring. "I was proud to work with Gov. Scott and the Legislature to get this important bill passed. What we've learned is that the human brain doesn't reach its full development until someone is in their late 20′s and a repeat concussion, two concussions close to each other, can have detrimental effects -- and that student-athlete may never reach their full potential as far as their education. It could even lead to death on the field, which we've seen in a number of cases," said Renuart.
In addition to removing athletes from play, this law also takes preventative measures and requires an informed consent about the risk associated with concussions prior to a student joining an athletic team.
Governor Scott was joined by Dr. Barth Green and Nick Buoniconti, cofounders of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Goldstein family who lobbied for the bill, Dr. Shalala, President of the University of Miami, representatives from the Brain Injury Association, as well as other physicians and supporters of the Youth Athletes bill.
About the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis: In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick's son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project is the world's most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, and is a designated Center of Excellence at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine. The Miami Project's international team is housed in the Lois Pope LIFE Center and includes more than 250 scientists, researchers and clinicians who take innovative approaches to the challenges of brain and spinal cord injuries.