Legislation Cracks Down on False Claims of Concussion-Preventing Equipment

Updated: 08/07/2014 10:49 PM
Created: 08/07/2014 10:42 PM
By: Todd Wilson, KSTP

Kids are already practicing for fall sports like football, soccer and volleyball. Officials say before sports are officially underway is the perfect time to talk about concussions.

On Thursday afternoon, a number of health and school officials spoke about protecting kids and whether protective gear is really effective.

Lucien Parker leads the varsity football team at Washburn High School in Minneapolis through some drills. He says, in his time playing football, he's had his bell rung a few times.

"You kind of feel like a whole body shake. You kind of feel like you lose nerves in some places, and you are kind of out of it for a second," he said.  

Lucien says the chance and risk of concussion is there.

According to the website Moms Team, which is a site dedicated to sports parents, there are between 1.6 million and 3.8 million sports-related concussions every year. High school athletes sustain an estimated 136,000 to 300,000 concussions per year, according to the site.

As fall sports begin, many parents may be looking for added head protection which can prevent a concussion.

However, Troy Hoehn of the Minnesota Athletic Trainers Association says buyer beware.

"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," he said.  

Hoehn, medical experts and the Minnesota State High School league gathered on the field at Washburn to back Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's Youth Sports Concussion Act. Part of the act would make it unlawful to sell athletic equipment like mouth guards and padded headbands using any false or misleading claims in regards to the product.

"The legislation ensures the FTC [Federal Trade Commission] has the authority to clarify what is false advertising," she said. 

Lucien agrees with the act, but admits some players don't wear their equipment properly.

"I don't think a lot of guys pay attention to where equipment should be, and what kind of equipment you should wear," he said.

Of all sports-related concussions, 29 percent of the cases involve athletes ages 16 to 19.

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