QUEST TO PROTECT YOUTH ATHLETES FROM CONCUSSIONS IN FLORIDA – Sportsconcussion.org
Our lives changed when David suffered his third concussion. It was the district final in soccer against our rival high school and my freshman had just gone into the biggest game of his life. After he had head to head contact, he kept playing the rest of the game and attended club practice the next day. After the practice he collapsed and we all realized something was wrong. David had a concussion and proceeded to have post concussion symptoms for more than three months. After educating ourselves on the dangers of second impact syndrome and the dangers of going back to activity too soon, David decided to speak out and help educate his community on traumatic brain injuries. He started at his school, then he spoke to all the PE teachers, trainers and athletic directors in Miami-Dade County. He even raised the funds so that all of the public high school students could have baseline and post concussion testing for the next four years.
But David did not stop at there. David traveled to the state capitol four times to speak to Representatives and Senators to explain why their support was needed and why we needed to pass legislation. “My experience of passing youth concussion legislation was interesting, frustrating, and rewarding. My Dad tells me that I have received a civics lesson like no other. I learned an incredible amount about the political process, the incredible amount of work it takes to pass a bill, the importance of networking and establishing connections, and the devotion to the cause that is required to drive legislation into a law. I endured a lot of stress, worry, and disappointment over the last year and a half, whether it be from fretting over the bill’s four day stall in the Senate Budget Committee this year or the failure to pass the bill a year ago,” explains David.
“In the end, a sweet victory with unanimous votes on the House and Senate Floors was achieved. The legislation’s passing means that youth athletes will be out of the game and under expert care when they are injured, so that they can get back to the game safely. I supported this legislation so that kids do not have to suffer the way that I did from my concussions.” said David. It was great to be on the same team as the NFL who also worked hard to see that this legislation was supported and passed. It was extremely important to have strong bill sponsors, Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Ronald Renuart, who worked hard to ensure that special interest groups did not derail the bill while preserving a good return to play scenario and that the bill was on the agenda for the needed committee hearings and eventually voted on before the end of the legislative session. We are elated that Governor Rick Scott will sign this bill in the next couple of weeks.
By: Cheryl and David Goldstein
Source : sportsconcussions.org