Thank you Chairman Garcia and fellow members of the Health Regulation Committee. I am here today to urge you to pass Senate Bill 256 unamended, for it is a cost-free bill that will protect the youth athletes of Florida from brain injury.

My name is David Goldstein and I am an eleventh grader from Miami who has suffered three concussions in soccer. I know first-hand how damaging brain injury can be. After my most recent concussion, which was caused by a head-to-head collision, I was symptomatic for over three months. I was sensitive to light and sound, my balance was distorted, I was depressed, and my head hurt so badly that I had to sleep in the nurse’s office every day in order to be able to get through school.

Though I experienced an ordeal, I consider myself lucky relative to the horror stories that are caused by head trauma. Even though I had previously suffered two concussions, I kept on playing after my most recent concussion because I did not know the potentially catastrophic effects that could occur if I received a second impact to my head. I now know that if I had been hit a second time after my concussion, I could have ended up with permanent brain damage or even dead. Impact from a second blow to the head right after an initial hit and repeated blows to the head are the two main causes of severe brain injury in youth athletes. I would quickly like to tell the story of one of Senator Sobel’s constituents, Daniel Brett. Daniel was a football player who experienced severe brain trauma. Last Spring, Daniel’s suffering from his brain injury drove
him to take his own life at the age of sixteen.

Spreading concussion education, awareness, and protection is essential for the welfare of the youth athletes of Florida. Sports is my passion and is an amazing tool for instilling responsibility and maturity in kids. We need to make the youth athletic environment as safe as possible. This bill will do so by removing youth athletes from practice and competition if they are under suspicion of having suffered a head injury and by keeping them out of practice and competition until they are fully healed. The duration of recovery time varies from athlete to athlete and can be as short as a matter of days, but its is crucial that youth athletes do not return too soon to play if they have suffered from head injury. With Florida being a large population state and an active state in terms of youth athletics, youth athletes in our state would benefit significantly from the protections this legislation will afford them.

I would now quickly like to respond to some of Senator Jones’ points. My family frequently visits an exceptional chiropractor. She is a true healer. Even though she is a fantastic chiropractor, I would not feel comfortable with her handling my concussion situation, having endured three concussions. When I asked her if she would feel comfortable, she said no as well. Secondly, you mentioned how chiropractors take care of many automobile accident victims who suffer concussions. The fact, though, is that these are not athletic injuries in which return to play decisions and second impact syndrome are concerns. These are key distinctions between recovering from an automobile accident and an athletic injury.

Thank you very much for your time, and once again, I urge you to pass Senate Bill 256 unamended.