Ex-Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher is doing his part to safeguard youths against the long-term dangers of concussions.
At a press conference last Wednesday 34-year-old Tauscher, who was raised in Wisconsin, spoke up in support of state legislation aimed at reducing brain injury in young athletes. Tauscher was part of a group of doctors, high school athletes and Wisconsin legislators lobbying on behalf of the pending law, according to the Associated Press.
Wisconsin is one of 18 states that haven’t yet passed laws mandating that student athletes be immediately pulled out of games if they show any evidence that they’s sustained a concussion. The National Football League has contacted the governors of all those states urging them to pass concussion legislation, according to AP.
As part of that lobbying, ex-pro football players have been advocating passage of the anti-concussion laws in various states. In the case of Tauscher in Wisconsin, he brought up the macho pressure of the NFL, noting that players who didn’t get out and play again after a bad hit were denigrated as not being tough enough, AP reported.
At last week’s press conference in Madison, Richland Center High School player Brock Rosenkranz said that that he had to stop playing football and basketball after sustaining 10 concussions over a three-year span. He now suffers from depression, insomnia, headaches and memory loss, and is on medication.
The proposed concussion bill in Wisconsin is similar to the so-called Zachery Lystedt Law in Washington state. That law was named after a middle school football player who quickly went back on the gridiron after sustaining a concussion, and subsequently had brain damage.
The Wisconsin concussion bill has been approved by the state Assembly, but is now stuck in the Senate, where Republicans have been wary about passing it, according to AP.
The pending bill would mandate that student athletes who appear to have suffered a concussion be taken out of a practice or game right away, and not be pemitted to go back on the field until they’ve been checked by a doctor and given permission in writing.
As part of this process, according to AP, the state Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association would have to craft guidelines and educational information for coaches, athletes and their parents.
Some of the Republican state senators are suggesting an alternative bill that is patently absurd. Under that proposal, Wisconsin schools could choose whether or not to develop concussion policies.
“Student athletes also wouldn’t be forced to leave the playing field after suffering an injury,” AP said.
So some of Wisconsin’s youth athletes would be protected from brain injury, and others wouldn’t?
I, and every other Wisconsin resident, should contact their state lawmakers and demand that the original legislation be passed, to protect kids throughout our state.