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News May 7, 2014 - 11:34:50 PM

Children's Committee Concussion Bill passes House, Senate

By State Representative Diana Urban's office

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State Representative Diana Urban (D-Stonington) is proud to announce that a comprehensive bill addressing concussions and head injuries in youth sports has passed both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature.

Rep. Urban had been approached by three moms from Westport late last year, and they have been working on this bill ever since. The moms formed their own organization called the Parents Concussion Coalition as they worked on the bill with Rep Urban.

“I would like to thank the moms who were so critical in helping us get this passed. They put a face on how concussions affect families, as well as individual children,” said Rep. Urban. “We are the Children’s Committee and our mission is protecting and helping children and families. This bill shows that when parents work together with legislators we can accomplish great things. We learned so much from parents and advocates and thank everyone who took the time to testify in person or in writing. It was, most appropriately, a team effort.”

House Bill 5113 allows the State Board of Education to take action in consultation with the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health as well as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) and other organizations to develop a concussion education plan for student athletes and parents. Connecticut currently has one of the best training programs for coaches in the country. There will also be a new informed consent form that will be distributed to parents or legal guardians to be filled out and returned to the school prior to athletic activity. These steps ensure the protection of student athletes with precise knowledge prior to an incident rather than when it is too late.

“By working as partners, parents, coaches, and athletes can help ensure that the threat of concussions is limited as much as possible,” said Senator Danté Bartolomeo (D-Meriden), Senate Chair of the Children’s Committee. “Any concussion, regardless of the severity, is still an injury to the brain that can have long-lasting consequences. By improving concussion education, we can greatly reduce the number of young athletes who suffer this injury and lessen their likelihood of a repeat injury.”

To further research and the study of concussions, this bill also calls for the formation of a task force that will study the occurrences of concussions in youth athletics and make recommendations for possible legislative initiatives to address protecting young athletes. It will focus on best practices in recognition and prevention of concussions, current policies, training of employees and relevant federal, state and local laws and regulations involving concussions.

Representative Urban serves Stonington’s 43rd Assembly District, and is the House Chair of the legislature’s Children’s Committee.

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