October 26, 2021

Congressional Briefing Highlights Proposed Legislation on Sports Related Concussions

Congressional Briefing on Sports Related Concussions Held

Congressional Briefing on Sports Related Concussions Held

On Thursday, advocates presented a strong case in support of protecting young athletes from the incapacitating effect of head trauma and concussion. Leading authorities gathered at the U.S. Capital to explain the reasons that traumatic brain injury is so devastating to individuals and society as a whole. The experts who spoke at the Congressional briefing also recommended the passage federal legislation to support the student-athlete. The briefing was held under the joint sponsorship of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Football League (NFL).

“I’ve seen, too many times, the effects of concussion not only on professional athletes but on children and adolescents,” said Stanley Herring, M.D., FACSM. Dr. Herring serves on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee as well as serving as a team physician for both the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Seattle Mariners baseball team.. “The cost to individuals, their families, teams and communities is immense. I am proud that the NFL is the leader in concussion education and advocacy around the country and in Congress. The NFL’s good work will help protect athletes at all levels of sports.” Herring was a strong advocate for Washington State’s Zackery Lystedt Law, an excellent model for comparable legislation in additional states.

Joining the medical experts at the briefing was Sarah Rainey, a 15-year-old student from Alexandria, VA. Her recovery from a concussion suffered on a soccer field took an excruciating three months. Her account underscored both the social and academic effects of concussion, which may have a particularly profound impact on the development of an adolescent’s brain.

Sports-related concussions have gained national attention as a result of recent research showing their effects to be much more prevalent and potentially more harmful than known previously. The National Football League has strengthened policies on concussions and urged states’ governors to implement laws based on the Lystedt Law.

Speakers and sponsors of the Congressional briefing intend to continue pressing for state-by-state legislation fashioned after the Lystedt Law while also supporting effective federal concussion legislation.