NY Attorney General Issues Caution on Football Concussions

Thursday, 05 Sep 2013 02:37 PM

By Christiana Lilly

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Football fans may be celebrating the official start of the NFL season tonight with the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos, but New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is sending a warning about concussions to young players.

Adding to the growing number of people concerned with the safety of the game, Schneiderman says youth football players should not trust claims that any helmet is "concussion-proof."

"It’s important to remember that no helmet can fully prevent a concussion," Schneiderman said in a press release. "Ensuring that manufacturers don't mislead the public and endanger young New Yorkers is a key concern for my office. Just as important, we must work to educate young athletes and their parents about how to reduce the risk of concussion and detect early warning signs on the field."

Some helmet companies claim that because of added precautions – liners, bumpers, pads, and electronic devices – their headpiece is concussion-proof. However, Schneiderman and other New York officials say the claims are misleading.

"Football helmets were developed to protect against massive head trauma, but unfortunately, we’re seeing more evidence they have not been designed to prevent less immediately catastrophic injuries like concussions," said New York Republican state Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau.

Hannon is a sponsor of the Concussion Management and Awareness Act, which became law in 2012. It requires that athletes suffering from a concussion be asymptomatic for a minimum of 24 hours before returning to the field.

The sport of football has come under fire recently following the suicides of several professional players whose deaths were blamed by doctors on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease believed to be linked to repeated head trauma.

NFL veteran Junior Seau was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest in May 2012. His suicide followed the deaths of Dave Duerson, Terry Long and Andre Waters. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and then himself earlier this year.

However, Daniel J. Flynn, the author of "The War on Football: Saving America's Game," defends the game and says the concussion scare is being fueled by "abolitionists" out to destroy it.

"The war on football hurts anonymous athletes, not the famous ones who play in overflowing stadiums. For these competitors, football isn’t a profession. It’s a passion," he wrote in The American Spectator.

"Guilt-tripping parents into the dubious belief that football means signing their kids up for long-term brain damage and lawsuits that make the sport cost prohibitive through escalating litigation and insurance fees have left football at the bottom of the pile, unsure whether it can continue for many more years," Flynn observed.

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