U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is reintroducing legislation on concussion standards in youth sports. Durbin’s Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act would penalize states which don’t issue guidelines for concussion safety in sports by taking away a portion of their federal funding. While the same proposal died in committee in the previous Congress, Durbin thinks the chances are better for passing it this time around.
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“We still have the support of every major sports league—the NHL, the NFL—all of them have come forward and said this is the right policy,” Durbin said. “Illinois is already moving in this direction.”
Illinois law requires high school coaches to pass a test every two years to prove they can spot concussion symptoms, and Durbin says nationwide standards should be modeled after what Illinois has implemented.
Despite those rules, the Illinois High School Association is being sued by a former football player, claiming member schools haven’t done enough to protect athletes from concussions. Durbin says he’s not looking to end youth football, but he also believes safety can’t be ignored.
“I want to see this game continue, but not at the expense of the health and safety of the players,” Durbin said.