Advocacy group calls for concussion laws

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Advocacy group calls for concussion laws

By SARAH LARIMER
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI — With the issue of brain injuries in the NFL gaining
attention, an advocacy group said it would push for legislation
in all 50 states aimed at reducing sports-related concussions in
young athletes.

The Zackery Lystedt Brain Project also will promote greater
public awareness of head injuries, and will work to advance
research efforts that focus on concussions.

“I think passing the legislation is going to be easy part,” said
Patrick Donohue, of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, an
organization concerned about brain injuries among children,
which launched the project. “The other pieces of this, public
awareness and furthering the research, is probably going to be
the most difficult component.”

Donohue’s foundation started the sport-specific project in Miami
on Wednesday, days before the Indianapolis Colts and the New
Orleans Saints meet for the Super Bowl in South Florida.

Named for a teenager who suffered a brain injury after he
returned to a middle school football game in 2006 following a
concussion, the Zackery Lystedt Brain Project is pushing for
measures modeled after a Washington state law, which requires
athletes under the age of 18 who are suspected of having a
concussion to get written consent from a licensed medical
provider before returning to play.

“As an organization, we decided that this is the type of law
that needs to be passed in all 50 states,” Donohue said.

The Washington state statute also carries Lystedt’s name.

“It’s a problem in every sport, and at every level. Zach Lystedt
was in middle school and by then kids are big and they’re
hitting hard,” said Dan Henkel, of the American College of
Sports Medicine, which is partnering with the foundation for the
project. “Sports can be dangerous.”

Henkel called Washington’s law an “elegant, beautiful, simple
piece of legislation.”

Another law on sports concussions has passed in Oregon,
according to the foundation, and several other states, including
Pennsylvania and California, have pending or upcoming concussion
legislation. The issue is also getting attention on the federal
level.

“This project is pro-sport,” Donohue said. “We’re in favor of
sports. … This is not a negative, this is a positive.”


On The Net:

American College of Sports Medicine: http://www.acsm.org/

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