A teen girl from Marlboro, New Jersey who suffered 11 concussions is now encouraging Congress to create laws to protect other young athletes from brain injury and subsequent brain disorders. Niki Popyer, 16, said in an Associated Press article that her first few concussions were not even diagnosed correctly until a neurologist reviewed her medical records and affirmed the seriousness of the Popyer’s brain injuries.
Popyer suffered her first concussion after hitting her head on the hard floor of a basketball court while diving for the ball. 7 of her 11 concussions happened while she was playing high school sports.
Now, Popyer, two former NFL football players, and two congressmen are lobbying for the passage into law of the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act, also known as the ConTACT Act. Senator Robert Menendez and Representative Bill Pascrell, both of New Jersey, are helping to raise awareness of the dangers inherent not only in the NFL, but in youth sports as well. Pascrell, the co-founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, has been publicly highlighting the ConTACT bill’s promise to provide funds for more advanced student testing before and after head injuries.
Abby Calahan, 13, of Baltimore, Maryland joined Popyer’s crusade for increased awareness and legislation to prevent brain injuries. Calahan was forced to abandon soccer after suffering a concussion while playing in 2008.
Congress held a hearing in October on football head injuries, but since then, many congresspeople have drawn attention to the high rate of concussions and head injuries in youth sports as well.
If the ConTACT bill becomes law, it will result in the development of Federal concussion management guidelines and would offer grants to states to provide funding for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of concussions incurred during school sporting events.
While youth interest and involvement in school sports show no sign of waning, much attention is being given to the high potential for traumatic brain injury. Popyer and Calahan’s cases are 2 among many more. With any luck, the ConTACT bill will help to prevent repetitions of these preventable injuries.
Frommer, Frederick J. (December 15, 2009). ‘Girl who sustained 11 concussions seeks new law.’ Retrieved December 15, 2009 from the Google News website