WASHINGTON — Ahead of this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, welcomed the NFL’s endorsement of their forthcoming legislation aimed at protecting youth athletes from the dangers of sports-related traumatic brain injuries.
The Youth Sports Concussion Act will ensure that safety standards for sports equipment are up to date and informed by the latest science. The bill will also increase potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell youth sports equipment.
“The NFL’s endorsement is welcome news in our campaign to improve sports and concussion safety,” said Udall. “It’s important that we encourage our kids to be more physically active while ensuring their parents have all the facts and best gear to help them avoid being injured. I’d like to thank Commissioner Goodell for the NFL’s support and efforts to protect young athletes across the nation and we look forward to introducing this bill with strong support soon.”
“We can absolutely make it safer for athletes of all ages to enjoy the sports they love to play,” said Rockefeller. “The science of sports-related concussions and their effects on children should be the motivation behind any equipment standards and for government action against manufacturers that make misleading claims about their sports equipment. Manipulating the good intentions of parents trying to protect their young athletes is unacceptable and our bill will end that practice. I’m glad the NFL is supporting our efforts to protect young athletes on the field.”
At Rockefeller and Udall’s urging, this past October the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies announced the formation of a committee to assess how best to protect young athletes from sports-related concussion.
The Senate Commerce Committee also held a hearing in October 2011 which uncovered that sports equipment manufacturers have repeatedly made claims that their equipment “prevents concussions” or “reduce the risk of concussions” without scientific evidence to prove them.
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.
The Youth Sports Concussion Act will:
* Instruct the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to review the findings of a forthcoming National Academies of Science (NAS) report on sports-related concussions in youth;
* Authorize the CPSC to make recommendations to manufacturers and, if necessary, promulgate new consumer rules for protective equipment based on the findings of the NAS report; and
* Allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to impose civil penalties for using false claims to sell protective gear for sports. State attorneys general could also enforce such violations.
– United States Senate communications