Pennsylvania State Representative Tim Briggs has had a concussion management bill in the makings for about a year now, as it has recently picked up some momentum in calling attention upon it to raise support for this individual piece of legislation. This bill, aimed towards protecting the athletes of youth sports programs, will hold several requirements that consist of educative measures, as well as specific management guidelines requiring definite steps to be followed during the return-to-play process, such as the signature of an outside medical professional in order to present a sort of buffer between the school’s resources and those of a trained neurologist or clinician.
After being asked to assist in the supporting of what was House Bill 2060, I quickly realized that Briggs and his staff were tremendously devoted towards having this proposed legislation passed in the Pennsylvania Senate, as it has already been approved in the House of Representatives several months ago in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The dedication of Briggs and his staff has been truly admirable, as they have taken on something that has been a clear issue in contact sports programs throughout the nation. At a press conference at Lincoln Financial Field last June, I spoke in support of this piece of legislation.
This bill that Mr. Briggs has proposed in Harrisburg is largely an essential step in the right direction in regards to protecting our student athletes. With the nature of high school football and the overall outlook on injuries in the game, not every will embrace it immediately, but over time I believe that it will save lives and be a tremendous safeguard towards ensuring the health of the participants in contact sports. It will hold a standard of liability to those in positions of authority and will promote the education of the risks of repetitive head injuries, enforcing smart and safe decisions while emphasizing that it is better to miss one game, rather than an entire season.
Such legislation is key towards sending contact sports an important message that will one day remove the idea that concussions are a sign of weakness and lack of integrity in an athlete. Through the efforts of education and workings of research relating to this topic, concussions will be treated as a brain injury, rather than a joke or insignificant mark that can ignorantly be summarized as a headache. The passing of this bill is a necessity. I would give anything to go back and be able to play football again, and through this effort, hopefully no one will have to feel the way that I do because they will have already lived healthy childhoods filled with spectacular memories of their athletic careers.
Let us all hope that this bill is passed in the near future and overmatches any complications that may come in the way of its approval, for it is still hard for me to believe that over twenty individuals rejected it within the House. Briggs’ concussion management bill is a necessity, and according to world-renown neurologist Dr. Micky Collins, it has the potential to be the most effective piece of its kind in the country.
There needs to be a universal revision in the general relationships involving players, coaching staffs, and athletic trainers, for I have personally experienced what it is like when there are unstable relationships between the three parties. Education needs to be effectively distributed to the players, and coaching staffs must let athletic trainers do their jobs.
In 2007, I was fifteen-years old, and was never told what a concussion was. The athletic trainer told me that I had to wait a week to be reevaluated following a concussion that I had sustained during training camp, and such instructions were relayed to my football coach. My coach, knowingly aware of the trainer’s instructions, approached my father asking for his consent to allow me to play, which resulted in my father’s rejection; something that my coach never revisited to consider when he gave me consent to play when I asked him to let me play because I thought I felt fine. He let me play, and by the end of the night I was laying in a bed at Lehigh Valley Hospital. Two concussions in one week; my season was over before it had begun, and yet I still consider myself extremely lucky after learning what kind of complications can arise when presented with such a situation.
So as a former player and an advocate for concussion education, support Briggs’ bill. Support any type of concussion management legislation that may be proposed in any of your given states, for it is imperative that our student athletes are provided with the utmost protection. It is, very much so, better to miss one game than an entire season.
You can read more about State Representative Tim Briggs’ concussion management bill by CLICKING HERE.