NFL Supports Delaware in Signing of Senate Bill 111, Aimed at Protecting Young Athletes

The NFL offered its support and thanks to Delaware governor Jack Markell who will sign on August 30 a law that will protect young athletes.

The law, Senate Bill 111, mandates a more formal and aggressive approach to the management and treatment of concussions. The law stipulates that athletes, parents and coaches must be educated about the dangers of concussions each year and if the athlete is suspected of having a concussion, he/she must be removed from a game or practice and not be permitted to return to play. In addition, a licensed health care professional must clear the young athlete to return to play in the subsequent days or weeks. Coaches must also be trained in these new procedures.

The bill’s co-sponsors include Senator Bethany Hall-Long, Senator Joseph Booth, Representative Rebecca Walker and Representative Biff Lee. The new law will be implemented under the auspices of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Former Philadelphia Eagles player VINCE PAPALE, who inspired the movie Invincible, and NFL Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy JEFF MILLER will join Governor Markell at the signing on Tuesday.

The NFL has actively supported the passage of this law. “It’s important that each state works to protect young athletes from head injury,” said Milller. “Laws like this one are a major step in concussion treatment and prevention, and we applaud the Delaware state government for their proactive stance.”

The law is inspired by Zackery Lystedt who, in 2006, suffered a brain injury following his return to a middle school football game after sustaining a concussion. Zackery, his family and a broad range of medical, business and community partners, including the NFL, lobbied the Washington state legislature for a law to protect young athletes in all sports from returning to play too soon.

In May 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent letters to governors of 44 states that did not have concussion laws  urging them to pass a law similar to the Lystedt Law. In the letter, Commissioner Goodell said sports and political leaders can help raise awareness of concussions while ensuring proper and effective treatment.

Since the passage of the Lystedt Law in 2009, 28 states have passed similar laws protecting young athletes with Delaware set to become the 29th.

“It makes me feel proud when I hear about Lystedt Laws being passed in other states,” said Zack Lystedt. “Sharing my story is important.”

To learn more about the NFL’s commitment to health and about the Lystedt Law, visit www.nflhealthandsafety.com .

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