In Fight Against Concussions, Lawmaker Targets Equipment Manufacturers

Posted at: 08/07/2014 10:49 PM
By: John Doetkott

Photo: ABC 6 News
Photo: ABC 6 News

(ABC 6 News) -- Practices for fall sports, including football, have already begun, bringing with them renewed concerns about concussions.

But just in time for the season, one Minnesota lawmaker wants to make sure parents aren't misled when it comes to their child's safety.

On Thursday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced her proposal for the Youth Sports Concussion Act.

Part of the bill would make it unlawful for companies to market products that make false claims about their ability to prevent injuries.

"The legislation ensures the Federal Trade Commission has the authority to clarify what is false advertising," Sen. Klobuchar said at a press conference in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Sen. Klobuchar and others are worried some parents and coaches may be fooled into thinking certain pieces of equipment can eliminate the possibility of concussions because experts say there’s no such thing.

"There's not one helmet, not one mouth guard, not any specialized padding, headband, or any other invention that they are trying to come up with that are going to completely prevent concussions," said Troy Hoehn of the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Association.

The Nation Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates nearly 47 percent of high school football players suffer a concussion each season, and around 35 percent suffer two or more.

But some coaches say even if equipment could be improved, the injuries would still be there.

"I don't believe you'll ever stop concussions in football no matter what they do with the helmet,” said Jeremy Wilson, head coach of the Lyle-Pacelli football team. “Because it's not just getting hit in the head, it's getting your head jarred forward or backwards. It has nothing to do with the helmet."

Sen. Klobuchar said the equipment items most commonly misrepresented are mouth guards and helmets.