Tallahassee, Florida — Every year, an estimated 140,000 high school athletes suffer concussions across the United States.

Athletes say, too often, they just dismiss the injury as “getting your bell rung” and they return to play before they’re ready.

The Brain Injury Association of Florida says that can be especially dangerous for the still-developing brains of young people.

Now a proposed bill aims to prevent injured high school athletes from returning to play too soon.

The legislation would require injured students to receive written clearance from a doctor before returning to play, as well as educatestudents, coaches and parents about the dangers and symptoms of concussions.

Sixteen-year-old David Goldstein spoke in favor of the bill at the state Capitol on Tuesday.  He painfully understands the consequences of ignoring the symptoms of a concussion.

Goldstein sustained a serious concussion last year during a soccergame and even though it caused headaches, nausea and fatigue, he continued to play.

Now he knows that was a mistake.  Goldstein thinks the bill will help prevent other student athletes from going through his experience.

“I learned the hard way and it didn’t have to be that way.  That’s why I support the sports concussion legislation because it is about education and trying to prevent serious or permanent brain damage by keeping an injured player from going back into the game too soon.”

Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, a doctor for more than 40 years, is sponsoring the legislation.

He says it would also create uniform guidelines for schools on removing athletes from a game when they suffer head injuries.

“This is a time for us to work together to protect our student athletes when they’re at the most vulnerable stages of brain development.  I just met David for the first time today and thought he was rather articulate.  But unfortunately his very compelling story is not unique and it points out the need that we have to have standards across the state to protect our students.”

Former NFL Player Lawrence Dawsey says he has a 12-year-old son that plays sports.  Dawsey says a bill like this is needed.

“To have a bill like this in place would definitely make me as a parent feel more comfortable knowing that we’re doing all that we can do as a state to help our kids be successful on the field as well as off the field .”

The Brain Injury Association is also unveiling a new database of services available for people with traumatic brain injuries and their families.  The website is located at: www.byyourside.org.

Dave Heller

Source : WTSP