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A proposal to reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injury

Furthering the goal of promoting brain injury awareness and brain injury prevention, I am pleased that the Journal News has printed my Op Ed piece in today’s editions.  Put focus on concussion issues

I am reproducing the Op Ed below:

With the Centers for Disease Control reporting that there are an estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States each year, Albany needs to direct its attention to serious regulations in an effort to protect our state's youth from concussions and concussion-related injuries. Effective regulations must address ways to minimize the number and the risks of sustaining concussions, rather than regulating the game of tag.

Unintentionally, the state has proposed a system that, under the guise of protection, has masked the true issues as they relate to the epidemic of sports-related concussions.

Needless and inconsistently applied regulations will not reduce the number of sports-related concussions, but may give the public a false sense of security, while deflecting the necessary attention from what would truly be effective and necessary. The state must mandate comprehensive educational training for camp and other adult supervisory personnel about concussions, their signs and symptoms, long-term dangers, and repercussions of premature return to play.

Prospective campers are now required to have physical examinations before being permitted to register for camp. Mandatory base-line neuropsychological testing should also be required. Such testing has been recommended to the commissioner of health by the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, which I chair, for school-based athletic programs and should be required for campers as well. The Department of Health must acknowledge this as essential pediatric preventive medical care, by law, for automatic coverage under existing health insurance policies.

Parents must be notified when a concussion or suspected concussion is sustained and be provided with vital information regarding the danger signs associated with concussions, the necessity to seek appropriate medical care if a concussion is suspected and require medical clearance prior to permitting a child to return to play.

Approximately 90,000 individuals each year will experience the onset of long-term disability as a result of brain injury; New York legislators must take concussions seriously and enact effective legislation and rules.

The writer is the chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and immediate past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State. He is the president of the American Academy of Brain Injury Attorneys and the past chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. His law practice consists of primarily representing victims of brain trauma.




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