The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act institutes a “when in doubt, sit out” policy and asks schools to notify a student’s parents of an injury and obtain a written release from a health care professional before the student may return to play.
In anticipation of the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit being held later this week, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) on Wednesday wrote President Barack Obama to seek support in promoting a strict “when in doubt, sit it out” concussion policy for young athletes.
Today, Obama will be joined by athletes, parents, coaches, members of the military and medical professionals at the White House to discuss the risk concussions pose to young athletes.
Last year, Durbin introduced the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act to raise awareness of the danger of concussions among student athletes. The legislation – which is supported by six national professional and collegiate sports organizations – institutes a “when in doubt, sit out” policy and asks schools to notify a student’s parents of an injury and obtain a written release from a health care professional before the student may return to play.
“Youth sports are a great way for students to stay healthy while learning important team-building skills. However, some students stay in the game not recognizing the risks of playing hurt, especially when they’ve had a concussion. Injuries may be a part of all sports, but as we learn more about the long-term effects of concussions and how frequently they are ignored, it is clear we have to step up our game to confront this national health risk,” Durbin wrote.
Concussions among young athletes are a growing problem. Recent studies found young athletes are at greater risk of sports-related concussions than college or professional athletes because their brains are more susceptible to injury. Over the last decade, emergency room visits for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries among children and adolescents increased by 6 percent. A recent study on concussions in youth sports found young athletes don’t always report when they might have a concussion because our culture encourages them not to.
In February, Durbin urged the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to implement a concussion safety and management plan for its 1,281 member institutions that includes a strict “when in doubt, sit it out” policy, which the NCAA has supported for high schools. This policy requires students suspected of sustaining a concussion to end their participation in the athletic event for the remainder of the day. Such a policy was recommended by a panel of team physicians convened by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2011.
The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act is supported by the NCAA, the National Football League (NFL), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) United States Soccer Federation, USA Football, National Council of Youth Sports, the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National PTA, the American Academy of Neurology, Easter Seals, The Arc, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, the Korey Stringer Institute, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Learning Disabilities Association of America and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN).