Durbin bill seeks to improve youth concussion safety

WAND 17 (Decatur, IL)

October 21, 2021

A bill introduced by U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) looks to protect athletes from concussions with “when in doubt, sit out” policies.

The Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act would make elementary and secondary school procedures stronger for identifying and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions. It would have states adopt policies preventing student-athletes suspected of having sustained a concussion from returning to play on the same day. After that, they would only be allowed to return once a qualified health professional has cleared them.

“The ‘walk it off’ mentality can lead to dangerous, long term consequences when it comes to concussions. We must take these injuries seriously, especially when it comes to youth sports,” said Durbin. “Adopting a ‘when in doubt, sit out’ policy will improve safety and protect student health on the field, court, and track.”

States would also be directed to create concussion safety guidelines for public school districts. This would mean educational information being posted on school grounds and school websites about the symptoms and risks of concussions, along with recommended responses for student-athletes, parents, coaches and school officials.

Multiple organizations are endorsing Durbin’s bill, a press release said, including the American College of Sports Medicine; American Academy of Neurology; National Football League (NFL); National Basketball Association (NBA); Major League Baseball (MLB); National Hockey League (NHL); National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy; Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy; American Physical Therapy Association; Easterseals; Illinois High School Association; National Association of School Psychologists; National Association of Secondary School Principals; National Disability Rights Network; National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association; National Parent Teacher Association; Pop Warner Little Scholars; U.S. Soccer Federation; USA Cheer; USA Football; Safe Kids World Wide; and Sports & Fitness Industry Association.

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