Deuell files bill to protect high school athletes

Austin – A bill filed by a Northeast Texas Senator aims to reduce instances of multiple concussions and long-term brain damage suffered by high school athletes.

The bill's author, State Senator for District 2 Bob Deuell, of Greenville, says if students are cleared to play before being properly evaluated, the risk of permanent damage or even death increases.

Senate Bill 835 increases the amount of time student athletes are required to sit out after a concussion is suspected, and requires them to be evaluated and cleared by a special team of medical professionals before being allowed to resume playing.

The NFL and the Texas State Athletics Trainers' Association have become strong supporters of concussion prevention and management measures, and the TSATA assembled a concussion advisory team which included physicians, brain trauma research specialists and licensed athletic trainers, to review the bill and offer recommendations.

"With the help of the NFL and new research, we are finally seeing what the long-term effects of concussions are on teenagers," Deuell said. "In Texas, sports are a way of life and these added precautions are long overdue."

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 135,000 five to 18-year-olds are admitted to emergency rooms for sports-related concussions, and sports are second only to car accidents as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among 15 to 24-year olds.