U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (both D-NJ) today released the following statement in reaction to the settlement of the lawsuit filed after the untimely death of Ryne Dougherty.
"Losing a child is the hardest thing any parent can face, and we hope the Dougherty family can now find some closure in the tragedy of losing Ryne through the settlement reached this week. Ryne's untimely passing inspired our legislation that will help keep generations of young athletes safe by providing resources to schools to make sure they have enough athletic trainers, medical staff and training to diagnose and treat concussions. As a result, the CDC is currently working on national guidelines to address traumatic brain injury in our youth, and we need to ensure that schools are able to implement the best recommendations for addressing concussion. If we are to encourage young people to be healthy athletes, then this Congress must do everything it can to protect them while on the playing field."
Congressman Pascrell and Senator Menendez were both primary sponsors of the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act in the House and Senate, respectively, following the tragic death of Montclair High School football player Ryne Dougherty in October 2008.
The original legislation, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September 2010, provided for national protocols to be established for managing sports-related concussions for student athletes from the 5th grade to the 12th grade. In response to Rep. Pascrell's and Sen. Menendez's request in February 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notified the lawmakers that it would convene an expert panel that would establish the national protocols.