WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - As an old football player himself, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin knows how important it is to stay safe in the game.
“Err on the side of safety, err on the side of caution,” Durbin said.
That’s why he is continuing to push for legislation called the Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act.
Durbin says the act would strengthen K-12 schools’ procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing.
“I visited a high school in Chicago not long ago and met with a football team and it wasn’t more than two weeks later that there was a serious injury of one of those same players in a routine high school football game and the poor young man went into a coma,” Durbin added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 3.8 million incidences of sports-related concussions occur every year. Durbins’ legislation includes a policy that would require students who are suspected of having a concussion to stay out of the game. The bill would also force schools to notify a student’s parents of an injury and obtain a written release from a health care professional before the student can return to play. Durbin said the point is to mandate a national 'when in doubt sit it out policy.’
“Make sure they are safe another day for another game,” Durbin said.
All states would have five years from the bills enactment to issue guidance to schools about concussion plans.
A state that fails to do so, would forfeit 5% of its federal formula funding the first year, and another 5% the second.
Senator Durbin tried to include this legislation in the recently passed Education Bill, it didn’t make it in but he was able to make sure the bill allows funds to be used to address student athletic safety, including a plan for concussion safety and recovery practices.