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Kline Statement: Hearing on the “Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act”

We are here to look at the issue of concussions among high school athletes and the effects of these traumatic brain injuries on a student’s academic achievement. This is the third in a series of hearings examining what policies and practices are in place to protect students from these injuries and help them safely recover when injuries do occur.
Across the country children are settling back into classes and school-related activities. The fall sports season is an especially familiar ritual for many – bringing parents, students, friends, and neighbors together to support their local teams.

Over the years, we have learned a great deal about creating a safer field of play. Helmets, pads, and other safety equipment are now prerequisites. Coaches, umpires, and referees keep a watchful eye to prevent injuries.

Yet despite all of these safety precautions, we know injuries do occur – including head and neck injuries that sometimes include concussions. Local policy makers, teachers, coaches, and parents must be well-informed and empowered to help prevent concussions and take appropriate action when they do occur.

We know that what happens on the field can directly affect what happens in the classroom. Academic research shows that student athletes who suffer from concussions tend to have lower attendance rates and lower grades than their peers. Particularly when concussions are unrecognized and untreated, such injuries can have long-term implications.

As we learned at our hearing in May, states and local school districts are continuing to step up and address this issue directly. Today’s hearing will continue to shed light on the research surrounding concussions among student athletes and what steps are being taken to prevent and properly treat these injuries.


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