The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last evening which would set federal guidelines on addressing sports related concussions in school age children.
The bill would require the government to convene a conference of medical, athletic and education experts to draft guidelines that address the prevention, identification, treatment and management of concussions in school-aged children. They would include standards for allowing children to return to play after suffering a concussion.
What we need are national standards that all schools can implement regarding the important decision of when to allow a student athlete to return to play following a concussion. This must include the minimum amount of time required before a student with a concussion is allowed to return to play, mandatory medical clearance, mandatory base line neuropsychological testing and retesting following a concussion, funding for educational programs regarding the risks of brain injury and the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
Importantly, recommendations must also include resolution of the important issues surrounding the medical costs involved in testing, retesting and treatment if necessary. All of this needs to be mandated under an individual’s health insurance coverage.
Congressman, Bill Pascrell, D-NJ, chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force should be congratulated on proposing this ground breaking legislation.