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Burke Introduces Youth Concussion Legislation

ERIE COUNTY, NY- Coinciding with Brain Injury Awareness Month, Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke (7th District) has submitted Local Law 2-2 to the Legislature. This initiative would require all coaches, sports staff, referees and officials of organized contact and collision youth sports to be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of concussions. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year. 135,000 of those that suffer from these brain injuries range from 5 to 18 years old. This legislation will ensure that all minors participating in contact or collision sports in Erie County are properly supervised.

“As a kid, sports were an amazing tool for character development, even now I see it in my own children’s lives. Organized sports should be fun and life changing, not life threatening” said Burke. “Nowadays as parents there are so many things that we have to worry about, so why not control the ones we can. This legislation provides a simple tool to reduce the dangerous aspects of youth athletics.”

"It is very important for those that are charged with protecting our children and young adults to be keenly aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion” said Dustin Fink, a certified athletic trainer who runs ‘The Concussion Blog.’ “When recognized correctly and in a timely manner we are providing the best possible outcome for brain injury."

This legislation mandates that supervisors of organized youth sports take a course in concussion safety before beginning their duties. There are four different methods by which this requirement can be satisfied, the Center of Disease Control Heads up concussion course, the NFHS Concussion in Sports Course, both of which are free of charge, the Erie County Health Department will facilitate four safety courses per year at a minimal cost, organizations already or supervisors can get a written statement from a physician saying they have shown said supervisor proper techniques in identifying concussion symptoms. Youth sports organizations that already require concussion training will be exempt from the law.