Good morning. Thank you for coming to listen to my fellow speakers and me. My name is David Goldstein and I am an eleventh grader from Miami who has suffered three concussions playing soccer. I personally have endured the damaging effects of brain injury. I am here now to describe to you what my experience was like, how it inspired me to advocate for concussion prevention, and how the youth athletic concussion legislation is an essential step towards protecting the kids of Florida.
My most recent concussion, which occurred in January 2010, was a result of a head-to-head collision during the biggest soccer game I had ever played. For over three months, after the collision, 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 devastating consequences of a second impact to my head. Second impact syndrome and multiple concussions can lead to permanent brain damage or even death.
Senate Bill 256 and House Bill 291 will protect Florida youth athletes from this danger 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 it is crucial that youth athletes do not return too soon to play if they have suffered from head injury.
I sincerely hope that Senate Bill 256 will pass through the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Floor as quickly as possible, because the youth athletes of Florida need to have a safe athletic environment. I started speaking and raising money towards spreading concussion awareness, education, and management in order to prevent kids from experiencing my struggle or an even worse one. Passing the bill will ensure that the kids of Florida are protected by treating concussions with caution and by putting them in the right hands as quickly as possible. Florida is the only state that has attempted to pass youth concussion legislation and failed. Twenty-three states have passed youth concussion legislation since the legislation in Florida did not pass, and thirty-one states have passed legislation in total. It is our legislature’s responsibility to join the movement to look after the health of youth athletes.
I would now quickly like to thank the National Football League for its support of the youth athlete concussion legislation. Its presence here and its work on behalf of the legislation has been crucial and exemplifies the strong stance the league has taken towards promoting concussion awareness and prevention. I would like to thank Mr. Nat Moore for speaking here for the second year in a row on behalf of the legislation and Mr. Ken Edmonds for spending so much of your busy time to defend this worthy cause. I would also like to thank Mr. Gary Pigott for representing the Florida High School Athletic Association here today.
In closing, I would like to give a special thank you to Senator Flores and Representative Renuart, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this youth concussion legislation passes. Your time, ability, and effort have driven the legislation this far and will hopefully propel it through the few remaining steps and into law.
Thank you very much for your time, and once again, I hope that this youth concussion legislation becomes law as soon as possible.