Lawmakers tackle concussion legislation

Concerns about the effect of concussions in the NFL have trickled down to the state level as state Rep. Tim Briggs and state Sen. Pat Browne publicly introduced the Safety in Youth Sports Act. Announcing a legislative push to raise awareness and response to concussions and head injuries across all youth sports at the State Capitol, they were flanked by peers, an NFL senior advisor, a victim and former Philadelphia Eagles Harold Carmichael and Mike Quick.

“We all know that concussions are nothing to shake off, and we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect our student athletes from serious injury,” said Briggs, noting they worked with medical experts, athletic groups and advocates including the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania.

Joe Browne, a senior advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, lauded the awareness-raising move that would “protect both boys and girls from the dangers of preventable brain injuries.”

“When people ask me if I’ve ever had a concussion, I joke that I don’t remember, but it’s not a joke,” said Carmichael, four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who currently serves as the Eagles director of player development. “This is a very, very important bill that needs to get passed quickly.”

Link to brain disease

Last September, Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy found mild stages of degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive concussions and/or sub-concussive brain injuries could have contributed to the suicide of Penn football co-captain Owen Thomas. It marked the first case in an active college player and led to efforts to bring NFL concussion-education efforts to youth sports.

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