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Assemblymember Hayashi Pushes Bills Designed to Reduce Injuries among High School Athletes

January 29, 2010

Assemblymember Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) convened a press conference Wednesday to discuss legislative efforts to reduce the incidence of multiple concussions among high school athletes.  State leaders and advocates joined Hayashi to discuss the impact such injuries are having on student health and safety, including the risk of coma, brain damage, and even death.

“Many high school students return to play too early after a head injury, placing them at risk for another concussion,” stated Assemblymember Hayashi. “A second or third concussion can be devastating, resulting in brain bleeding and swelling, and related health problems such as sleep disorders, memory loss, and depression.”

To address this serious problem and increase student safety, Assemblymember Hayashi has introduced two bills, AB 1646 and AB 1647AB 1646 will add training on concussions and other potentially catastrophic injuries, such as head and neck injuries, asthma attacks, and heatstroke, to the CPR and first aid certification required of all California high school coaches.  AB 1647 will require medical clearance from a health professional before a student can return to play following a sports injury.  Oregon, Texas, and Washington have already enacted similar laws.  

Legislative leaders who spoke in support of these bills included Senator Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks), Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), who is serving as joint author of AB 1647, Assemblymembers Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo), Mike Davis (D-Los Angeles), Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego), and Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco).

Advocates included Paula Daoutis, Administrative Director of the California Brain Injury Association, Mike West, President of the California Athletic Trainers Association, Diane Claerbout, Board Member for Parent Health Watch, Beth Mallon, parent advocate, and her son Tommy Mallon, who suffered a neck fracture seven months ago in a high school lacrosse game in San Diego.

To read more about the bills, click here: AB 1646, AB 1647.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy reports that over 40 percent of high school players return to play too early after experiencing a head injury. In addition, 16 percent of high school football players who lost consciousness returned to play the very same day.  The New York Times reported that head injuries resulted in at least 50 deaths and critical injuries among high school and youth football players since 1997.

Assemblymember Hayashi is the Chair of the Business and Professions Committee and serves the 18th Assembly District, which includes San Leandro, Hayward, and Dublin.

Source:  Office of Assemblymember Mary Hayashi