Sen. Crandall Addresses Concussion Concerns in New Bill
The Senate Education Committee heard testimony Monday regarding new legislation that would protect young athletes from concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.
SB1521 is designed to address the prevention, risk and treatment of sports-related concussions, which are becoming more commonplace in youth sports and whose effects are all too often underestimated and even ignored.
Chairman of the Education Committee, Sen. Rich Crandall, outlined the three key elements of the bill, which include:
Informing and educating athletes and their parents about traumatic head injuries and requiring them to sign a concussion information form,
Removing youth athletes from play or practice immediately following an instance where it appears they have suffered a concussion, and
Requiring the athlete to be cleared by a licensed health care professional before returning to play or practice.
Prior to the committee hearing, supporters of this legislation discussed their personal experiences with traumatic head injuries and noted the importance of awareness and prevention. Jay Feely, kicker for the Arizona Cardinals, has dealt with concussions first hand, and urged people not to take them lightly. Child neurologist Dr. Javier Cardenas noted how athletes often ignore the symptoms for their team’s sake, which leads to long-term neurological effects and even death in extreme cases.
The bill’s supporters note the importance of concussion awareness and agree that medical decisions regarding victims of such injuries need to be made by doctors rather than the parents or coaches of the athlete. SB1521 aims to give licensed healthcare professionals the power to decide whether athletes are safe to resume their sport, and ultimately reduce the occasions of brain re-injury among youth athletes.