Bill backed by Ill. lawmaker, sports organizations would improve student athlete concussion safety

Bill backed by Ill. lawmaker, sports organizations would improve student athlete concussion safety
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin announced the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act on Oct. 15.

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - A bill that would improve concussion safety in Illinois youth sports was introduced by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on Oct. 15.

Illinois officials said the bill would strengthen elementary and secondary school procedures that prevent, identify and treat student-athletes who suffer concussion.

The bill is backed by major professional and college sport organizations, according to state officials.

“USA Football recognizes the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act as a vital step forward to advance the health and well-being of young athletes,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. “This bill places great priority on education, which is the foundation of smarter and better play. We commend Senator Durbin for his work on this important initiative.”

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, they estimate about 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions each year. Many go unreported.

The bill would require states to adopt “when in doubt, sit it out” policies.

“The mentality about the long term dangers of concussions is different from decades ago. These are serious injuries that can’t be addressed by walking it off,” Durbin said. “By adopting the ‘when in doubt, sit it out’ policy, we can increase student health and safety in youth sports.”

Durbin said the policies prevent athletes suspected of having a concussion from returning to play the same day. The policies also would only allow players to return once they’ve been cleared by a qualified health care professional.

The legislation also brings awareness to the danger of concussions by directing states to develop concussion safety guidelines for public school districts.

This includes posting educational information on school grounds and school websites about symptoms and risks of concussions. Educational information would also include proper responded for student athletes, parents, coaches and school officials.

Other organizations endorsing Durbin’s Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act include: American Academy of Neurology; American College of Sports Medicine; American Physical Therapy Association; Easterseals; National Football League (NFL); National Basketball Association (NBA); Major League Baseball (MLB); National Hockey League (NHL); National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); National Council of Youth Sports; National Association of School Psychologists; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Parent Teacher Association; U.S. Soccer Federation; USA Football; Sports & Fitness Industry Association; Safe Kids World Wide.

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