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Costa, NFL Execs and Players Call for Concussion Regulations in High School Sports

HARRISBURG, January 26, 2011 – – Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) today joined National Football League representatives, former players and a host of state lawmakers in calling for legislation that would require additional evaluation and protections against dangerous concussions in high school sports.

            Costa participated in the news conference in the Capitol Rotunda this afternoon along with Joe Browne, senior advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former NFL players Mike Quick and Harold Carmichael, in addition to members of the General Assembly.

 “Concussions are one of the most prominent on-field injuries that athletes can suffer because many times the minimal short-term discomfort is shrugged off without considering the harmful long-term effects,” Costa said.  “We need to continue to go above and beyond when it comes to the safety of our high school athletes, and this proposed legislation is another step in the right direction.”

According to the American Academy of Neurology, 40 percent of high school athletes that suffer concussions return to play too soon and during the 2007-08 season 1 in 6 football players who suffered a concussion and lost consciousness returned in the same game.

The proposed legislation would require an athlete that is suspected of suffering a concussion to be removed from play and would not be allowed to return until they have written approval from an appropriate healthcare professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.

“The NFL has been oft-criticized in recent years by fans for ‘softening’ the game, but I think it should be applauded for putting player safety before Sportscenter highlight reels,” Costa added.  “Now it is time for Pennsylvania to take the ball and pass this legislation to ensure that our high school athletes are not jeopardizing their off-field health for on-field success.”

The bill, unanimously approved last session by the Senate Education Committee, would also require coaches to complete a concussion management certification training course every three years.

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