Content in this area helps coaches recognize and understand concussions and coaches' responsibilities if a concussion is suspected. These articles are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. If you suspect an athlete has a concussion, follow the approved guidelines for medical treatment, and seek appropriate medical treatment immediately.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Tim Briggs
Briggs’ Safety in Youth Sports Act passes House
Expert calls the bill the best concussion legislation in the nation
HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – State Rep. Tim Briggs said the state House today passed by a vote of 169-29 the Safety in Youth Sports Act, designed to improve concussion management in youth sports and to increase awareness regarding the devastating, life-long effects they can cause when not handled properly.
Briggs' legislation (H.B. 2728 <http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&BN=2728> ) would require that if a high school or junior high school athlete sustains a concussion or brain injury, they could not return to play unless cleared by a medical professional properly trained in concussion management. Additionally, the Safety in Youth Sports Act would require an athlete and their parent or guardian to annually sign a concussion and head injury information sheet prior to the student's participating in practice or competition. Briggs said this is the most important part of the bill, as it helps increase awareness about the seriousness of brain injuries.
"Concussions are nothing to shake off, and we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect our student athletes from serious injury,” Briggs said. “I have been working hard on this legislation for almost a year and it has come a long way from where we started. Thanks to discussions with the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, the Brain Injury Association, the Department of Health and many others, we were able to draft a bill that we can all be proud of.”
Dr. Micky Collins of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a nationally renowned sports concussion expert who has consulted with multiple states on bills similar to Briggs', hailed the bill as the best concussion legislation in the nation.
"The Safety in Youth Sports Act is the most comprehensive, advanced and reasonable bill in the nation when it comes to concussion management in youth sports," Collins said. "Representative Briggs' bill would not only succeed in raising awareness and recognition of this issue, but it would ensure better clinical management for any student athlete sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury. Over the past 10 years, we have made tremendous advances in our understanding and management of sports concussions, with Pennsylvania researchers leading the way. Our progress is reflected in House Bill 2728 and I urge the Senate to pass this important bill as soon as possible."
Another supporter of Briggs' legislation is Keith Primeau, former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers and current director of player development for the Las Vegas Wranglers, whose own career was cut short by injuries on the ice. Primeau often speaks about concussion awareness as a spokesman for Play It Cool, an organization focused on preventing concussion and spinal related injuries in youth hockey, and also spoke at a House Majority Policy Committee hearing at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on the topic in February. <http://www.pahouse.com/PR/149021210.asp>
"Athletes should know that if they think they've had a concussion, not to hide it but to report it," Primeau said. "They need to take time to recover, because it's better to miss one game than the whole season. The impulse is to brave through it or play through it, but that is more ignorance than it is bravado. My own experiences have taught me that being courageous is not always smart. Representative Briggs' Safety in Youth Sports Act will make sure parents, players and coaches are better educated and aware, which is the key to protecting our young athletes."
Briggs' legislation would require coaches to complete a concussion certification course like the free online course the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is developing or the course the National Federation of State High School Associations began offering this summer. The bill would also encourage schools to hold concussion information meetings for students and parents prior to the beginning of a season.
There has been extensive media coverage <http://www.pahouse.com/Briggs/index.asp> of Briggs’ efforts on youth sports concussion legislation and he has received overwhelming bipartisan support. Supporting Briggs in his effort to pass concussion legislation have been the National Academy of Neuropsychology, the Pennsylvania Psychological Association, the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers' Society and the Pennsylvania Physical Therapists Association. Briggs has also received strong support from the Philadelphia Eagles, 76ers, Flyers and Phillies, and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers <http://www.pahouse.com/PR/149052610.asp> .
Briggs modeled his legislation on the Zackery Lystedt Law, a Washington state bill enacted in 2009 which was the model statute in the nation regarding concussions and student athletes before the Safety in Youth Sports Act. Briggs' legislation makes multiple improvements on the Washington statute, including not only adding the required concussion certification courses for coaches, but also adding cheerleading and school affiliated club sports, like hockey or rugby, to be covered by the bill.
The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Briggs, a freshman Democrat, represents the 149th Legislative District in Montgomery County. For more information, visit www.pahouse.com/Briggs <http://www.pahouse.com/Briggs> , or get regular updates on Twitter <http://twitter.com/RepTimBriggs> and Facebook <http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Briggs/1008893016> .
Attention Radio News Directors: For sound bites from Rep. Briggs, click here <http://www.pahouse.com/Briggs/AV.asp?page=1&Vidpage=1&AudClip=092310_Briggs_.mp3&mediaID=16648> and here <http://www.pahouse.com/mediacenter/default.asp?AudClip=092810_feed_bitesBriggs.mp3&mediaID=16773&audNum=5#audio> .
CONTACT: Jennifer E. Battista
House Democratic Communications Office
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