U.S. Representative Tom Rooney (FL-17), Co-Chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, today joined fellow co-chair Rep. Bill Prascell, Jr. (NJ-09) in introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries.
"As a father of three sons who can't wait to play tackle football, I want to do everything we can to protect young people from suffering head injuries on the field," Rooney said. "We can't completely eliminate the risks of playing youth sports, but we can make sure that helmets and other equipment meet the highest safety standards for our kids."
"The dangers multiple concussions pose to our young athletes is well known, so it's imperative we do everything possible to protect them on the playing field," said Rep. Pascrell. "I've fought to ensure there are resources available to young athletes that sustain a brain injury, and this legislation will bring us one step closer to preventing these devastating injuries to begin with. The only thing standing between athletes and serious injury is their equipment, which is why manufactures must be held to the highest possible standard. We cannot jeopardize the health and safety of our young athletes by allowing inferior equipment into their locker rooms."
The Youth Sports Concussion Act of 2013 would ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for high school and younger players meet safety standards that address concussion risk and the needs of youth athletes. The bill also increases potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell helmets and other sports equipment. Companion legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM).
Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for people who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle crashes. Every year American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3.8 million sports-related concussions.
Supporters of the Youth Sports Concussion Act of 2013 include: NFL, NFL Players Association, Major League Baseball, MLB Players Association, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Major League Soccer (MLS) Players Union, American Academy of Neurology, American Academy of Pediatrics, Brain Injury Association of America, Brain Trauma Foundation, Cleveland Clinic, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Natl. Consumers League, Safe Kids USA, Natl. Assoc. of State Head Injury Administrators, Natl. Athletic Trainers Association, Natl. Fed. of State High School Associations (NFHS), NOCSAE, US Lacrosse and US Soccer Federation.