Children are starting to play contact sports younger and younger, and with that comes more risk of concussion.
Connecticut state lawmakers are introducing legislation to raise awareness.
Some lawmakers want it mandated that athletic trainers are at games and practices, and that coaches must be trained to recognize concussion, and when it is time to take an athlete out of the game.
This is something that is already in place at the high school level, but not with younger children.
“The regulations for children should be stricter because I grew up with concussions and I know how bad it is,” said Taylor Helms, who attends Manchester Community College.
She has had more than six concussions from cheerleading and horseback riding, and said she is now struggling in college as a result.
“It may take me longer to take my tests,” Helms said.
It isn’t a surprise to Dr. Anthony Alessi, who is the director of UConn’s Neuro Sport program.
He thinks there should be much stricter rules with all sports that risk head injury, even suggesting no tackling.
“I think that the choices now are really—do we have to invest in this time, money and effort or should we consider just taking tackling out of youth football,” Alessi said.
State Rep. Diana Urban introduced the legislation and said parents have to remember young children are delicate.
“The youngest athletes that are out there, our littlest ones, our youth soccer, our football players, our pop warner football, their necks, shoulders, and muscles haven’t developed, so when they get a concussion, it can be very serious,” Urban said.
There has been some pushback on the issue.
Some people said the games have always been played but youth organizations say they can’t afford to have athletic trainers at the games and practices.
Supporters said if they can’t afford those resources, you can’t afford to have the young children playing such rough sports.
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